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Executive Outplacement

In a world which is economically recovering but still in shock, the size and scale of the number of redundancies is still yet to be fully felt. This is particularly true of the Executive sector, where the number of Executive Outplacement services provided is still rising.

This will continue for a while, with different countries taking different long or short term priority economic views. While in the priority in the United States and parts of Europe is sustaining short term growth via the need to borrow, in the UK where growth is seen as long term is the priority will lead to some dramatic government spending cuts to avoid boom and bust.

Therefore, the question for the Executive faced with release or redundancy, is whether they need executive outplacement, and if so what?

Executive Outplacement services
Outplacement services address the needs of soon to be or former employees of a company, and aim to help them transition from one piece of their life/employment to a new stage, both personally and career wise. In theory, outplacement goes beyond just a careers service, but encompasses the whole person and gives you a hand on which to lean for guidance.

Outplacement services were originally developed in the 1960s, around providing an alternate office and facilities from which the ex-employee could undertake a job search. Today most outplacement services don’t concentrate on the physical process of getting a job, but facilitate you doing that through offering: clarity (of what next); support (in getting through the adjustment of leaving to job search); and settlement (in your new life).

Executive Outplacement firms
Many blue and white collar outplacement services for cost reasons are hence generally always volume process driven and systems supported. However, most Executive outplacement services are personalised around you, with virtual-dedicated access to certain resources. Dedicated access to a senior consultant seems to be the most used phrase in the Executive outplacement field!

Operators in the present £4Bn field of outplacement services always have a dedicated Executive outplacement service, and include: Right Coutts, RMS and Penna. While the average cost of outplacement for non-executives costs £2500/$4000, Executive outplacement can cost between double and treble this to your former employer.

Senior Executive Outplacement
My own experience of senior executive outplacement was interesting, and like many who went through such outplacement services in both the post-2000 dot.com bust, and the more recent 2008 global financial meltdown, not a happy or fulfilling one.

Firstly, having chosen to exit my former corporate employer, I was introduced to an executive outplacement service provider before I left corporate employment. Our first meeting was in their offices, and I was given a guided tour which included being shown how to operate the coffee machine, and where the dedicated job seekers desks were placed. I was also given a four meeting programme, and then a menu of optional but paid for by my employer services, from which I could choose three options before having to pay for additional modules myself.

At our second meeting I was told that this was the second of our eight sessions. This surprised me, but is quite typical of all outplacement. While as a senior executive I got eight sessions with the outplacement service, junior members of staff got either four or six sessions. As all I learnt at the first was that my consultant was a pleasant lady and how to operate the coffee machine, I was disappointed! For the rest of the session as the programme dictated, I was run through a series of psychological assessment and analysis tools, and was told that I would get the feedback at our next session.

While driving away that day, I also concluded that I was being pushed through the process like a sausage, over being coached or talked to. In part on reflection I can understand why, in that my employer wanted a fixed cost solution, and the outplacement services provider wanted me happy, not necessarily employed. They had hence structured their programme like a treadmill to both give you momentum and keep you moving.

The instant sales pitch hence half way through session three didn’t surprise me! I was told from the output of my psyche analysis that I needed counselling, and as I would need six sessions of counselling at minimum I would need to buy an extra three sessions. I told them that I would think about it, but wanted to get on with job seeking: how could they help me with that? OK, suddenly I needed to either read 20 books in my own time, or buy a CV Writing session with one of their people.

Outplacement service fail?
Whilst driving away from session three, I conclude that senior executive outplacement was not for me! Much of what I experienced was like a developed version of what I got when I left school and later university (twice). On all three occasions it involved too much navel gazing and personal psych assessment, and too little action.

As a recruiter I now know that HR professionals look at the last five years of work as a guide as to what you could do next, other wise you are into career transition. So really, either you want to do more of what you have done for the last five years, or do something completely different: psych testing over!

Unfortunately, the surveys of all types of job seekers made redundant from the corporate world in 2008 under various outplacement services, match my unfortunate experience. In a large part this problem was volume related: the world just stopped, and the dole queues tripled over night. But many executives want assistance in job seeking, not assessment of whether they should have been a CEO in the first place.

Executive CV Service
Most of the executives we talk to and help through career transition with our executive cv service, are at a stage in their career (not an age), where either they want to develop their career further, or step back from day-to-day operations and deploy their knowledge into others people and companies (ie, a consultant). So with a few select psych tools and getting them to read through some specifically written eBooks, we get them to clarify that future employment vision.

Secondly, we use our knowledge of the recruitment market place to give them a job application advantage. I see too many executive outplacement services offering CV distribution and recruiter meetings. When 90% of executive jobs are never advertised, and looking like a desperate job seeker will get you rejected, what’s the point in those services? Through deploying our knowledge as recruiters in your executive job search, we hence delivered happy – and employed – executives.

Executive outplacement in theory should help you transition from one job and stage of your life to another. When too many concentrate on the “who are you” over the getting things done action of of executive job seeking – and don’t accept the need for tactical change in executive job search – you can see why so many who have transitioned through executive outplacement feel dissatisfied.

If you know what you want to do next, and are offered executive outplacement, think about what the service provider paid for buy your former employer is offering you. If you know what you want, then a good Executive CV Writer should be able to help you transition quicker than Executive Outplacement.