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November 30, 2009

Outplacement Facts from The Wall Street Journal

Here are some facts and excerpts about big outplacement as detailed by Phred Dvorak and Joann S. Lublin in an article Outplacement Firms Struggle to Do Job:

The American Management Association and Institute for Corporate Productivity states that the average per-employee cost for outplacement is $7,518 for Executives, $3,793 for Managers, $2,615 for Salaried Employees and $1,472 for Hourly Employees.

Right Management, the Manpower Inc. unit (nation's largest) posted a 36% rise increase in second quarter revenue to $158 million.

Right also claims that its research sales that 95% of the people who used its services in 2008 were satisfied.

Lee Hecht Harrison, a unit of Switzerland's Adecco SA, jumped 57% to $119 million.

Employers say they offer outplacement to protect their reputations, forestall lawsuits and minimize unemployment-insurance payments.

Unfortunately the article details some of the truth behind big money outplacement firms and the comments following the article are even more disconcerting.

Here is one disturbing story from the article:

Damian Birkel, a career coach, joined Right in June 2007, initially as a contract counselor and later as a full-time employee. He primarily worked from home, but spent at least one day a week in Right's office in High Point, N.C.

Mr. Birkel says Right assigned him 60 people, a minimum of 15 a day, to coach by phone or online. One month of outplacement included no more than four hours of counseling, he says, a limited number of online seminars and access to a portion of Right's Web site. Most users received one to three months of services, which often ended before they found work, he says.

Mr. Birkel says Right fired him in August 2008, after he extended counseling time for people whose outplacement had expired. One was a single mother who'd missed appointments while trying to retain her foreclosed home. "I wasn't cut out for over-the-phone, fast-food outplacement," according to Birkel.

Do employers bear responsibility for quality outplacement decisions? Yes.

Do outplacement firm clients need to take ownership and responsibility for their search? Yes.

Does big money, boiler-plate and cookie cutter big outplacement need to be fixed? Yes.

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