Many workers are finding themselves referred to an outplacement services provider because they've been fired or laid off for not having 21st-century online and social media skills. Unfortunately, the firms supplying those outplacement services may also be lacking the skills necessary to prepare workers for the new digital marketplace, a new survey shows.
Demand for outplacement services – companies that help employees find new work – are high, but employers need to provide their transitioning employees with access to a new type of solution, one that encompasses both online and social technology, according to a national survey of nearly 300 human resources professionals conducted jointly by DirectEmployers Association, a nonprofit HR consortium of employers, and CareerBeam, a provider of outplacement solutions.
More than half (58 percent) of respondents are frustrated with the outplacement services offered by their provider, often viewing them as expensive, outdated and offering the wrong tools. And only about a quarter (26 percent) of respondents thought senior executives would gain the most value from outplacement services.
In contrast, 82 percent of HR respondents had offered outplacement services to senior executives. And there was almost universal agreement (89 percent) that the most important reason for offering outplacement was to help their transitioning employees get a new job.
"This survey reflects the fact that companies value outplacement services, but increasingly view brick-and-mortar solutions as outdated. Our members are looking for cost-effective solutions that they can offer to all of their transitioning employees," said Bill Warren, executive director of DirectEmployers Association. "The outplacement industry is evolving as a result of the emergence of social, mobile and online technology and its benefits for laid-off employees are immense."
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average unemployed person in America has been looking for work for 38 weeks, which is more than double the time it took a decade ago. Respondents of the survey identified electronic job match alerts, a virtual career center and social network integration as the most important components to help users of a 21st-century outplacement solution quickly get re-employed.
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