Profound changes in the job market mean that corporate outplacement no longer works for employees, large businesses or recruitment agencies and needs to be rethought, says Maite Barón, CEO of The Corporate Escape.

Though existing outplacement services are meant to find executives and managers similar roles to ones they’ve just left, this makes everyone a loser. Why?

  • Executives and managers, particularly those in their 40s and 50s, who would rather not return to the corporate grind, are directed back into something they’d rather not do – raising the prospect of 15 or even 20 more years in a career they’re tired of.
  • Many corporate organisations who use traditional outplacement services are effectively hiring someone to recruit on behalf of their competitors, so they lose their former staff, their skills and their experience to the opposition. This is a huge talent leakage that organisations can’t afford.
  • Recruitment agencies can find themselves with a growing inventory of people on their books who aren’t generating them any income.

“Until recently people in their 50s were terrified of redundancy,” says Maite Barón, “because potential employers saw them as being in the twilight of their career, which made getting another job very, very hard.”

“Now things have changed dramatically. With people retiring so much later, 50 is just mid-career for many. They also don’t want to spend their whole working life in a large corporate organisation. Not surprisingly, that’s why those with experience and over 50 are in the lead when it comes to setting up new businesses in Britain; which is great news when small firms, freelancers, and the self-employed are a well- established and increasingly important component of the UK’s business landscape.”

“Unfortunately, traditional outplacement services tend to focus on just getting people into another job as quickly as possible, so they fail to look at the individual as a whole and what they could offer in the future. That means valuable talent is being sucked out of the economy and then ignored. That can’t be right!”

“Outplacement shouldn’t be about ‘how can we find someone a job elsewhere’. Instead, it should be about ‘how can we help people fulfil their aspirations so they continue to lead professional lives that are rewarding for them.’ We also need to look at how we can ‘recycle’ such talent to the benefit of all by using it to mentor new generations with little or no work experience.”