Outplacement support should be compulsory, say UK employees

The majority of employees believe that outplacement services, such as career guidance, CV or interview advice, should become a compulsory part of all redundancy programmes, research has revealed.

A survey of more than 1,000 HR professionals, line managers and employees, by recruitment firm Hays, found that 82.2% of employees believe organisations should be forced to provide career transition services to staff who lose their jobs. And almost two-thirds of employers want the government to offer funding to help provide outplacement support.

Yet the study revealed that 73% of employees said they did not receive this type of help when being made redundant. A lack of internal resources to organise the support (44%) and the fact it is not seen as important by management (40%) were among the reasons cited by employers for not providing the services.

The findings come in the same week as the government revealed details of £6.2bn spending cuts, which are likely to result in job cuts and organisational restructuring across the public sector.

Mark Staniland, managing director of Hays Career Transition Services, said: “A better use of available funds may be to focus on those employees experiencing redundancy and offering them practical help to find another job quickly, as ultimately this will save the government purse.”

Staniland said the problem with existing services is they concentrate on the psychological aspects of redundancy. “While this is important, the employees we surveyed told us that the one area where they really wanted help is finding a job, which is why the most effective transition support is linked to recruitment and the practical aspects of searching for a new role,” he added.

Mike Emmott, employee relations adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), described outplacement support as “valuable”, “reassuring” and a “good investment” for employers, but he warned against making it compulsory.

“Making it a statutory requirement on employers would add to the costs of terminating the employment and could discourage recruitment, so the CIPD wouldn’t support that,” he told Personnel Today. “Obviously most people facing redundancy want help finding a new job but their own attitudes, skills and confidence are very important in ensuring a successful outcome to job search.”

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