Changing the Layoffs Industry
in a Social Media World

Changing the Layoffs Industry in a Social Media World
By Robin Richards

Fired, furloughed or laid-off? What are the chances you received a nice “golden parachute” with a little perk called outplacement assistance? For the last two decades, many companies typically offered senior executive level workers a service through an outplacement agency to help them find the next job.

Fast-forward to 2013 and unfortunately you’ll find outplacement offices across the country are still using old-school job search solutions (imagine sitting at a desk with a telephone and phone book and making cold calls!).

According to a survey released in April, employers want to offer fired, furloughed or laid-off employees a virtual career center that uses social, mobile and online technology to help people re-enter the workforce faster. What is faster? Well, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average unemployed job seeker has been looking for 38 weeks—twice the rate from a decade ago. And how many people are we really talking about here? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012 alone: 25 million people quit their jobs and 21 million people were laid off involuntarily.

Read on for additional findings from the survey* of 300 human resource professionals conducted between October 2012 and February 2013:

  • Old technology, wrong tools. 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respondents are frustrated with the outplacement services offered by their provider, often viewing them as expensive, outdated and offering the wrong tools.
  • Offer outplacement help to all employees. Nearly three quarters of human resources professionals feel that employees below the senior executive level would gain the most value from receiving outplacement help.
  • Outplacement help is still offered to just the higher ups. Interestingly, a majority of the companies surveyed (82%) offered outplacement services to laid-off senior executives.
  • Virtual career centers and social tools are wanted. Traditional outplacement services such as office space and onsite coaching ranked significantly below virtual and social tools.
  • Do the right thing, help your ex-employees. 89% of respondents said the most important reason for offering outplacement was to help their transitioning employees get a new job.

*Survey conducted by DirectEmployers Association and CareerBeam

Here is another interesting stat: on average, 1 in 219 people get hired when they apply directly through an online job board but 1 in 10 get hired when they are referred. This is where social and mobile tools become a significant game-changer for the outplacement industry. Transitioning employees won’t need to sit in an office and make cold calls anymore. Instead, they can sit in a coffee shop with a laptop or stand in line with a smartphone to tap into their professional network and seek referrals to land the next interview.

The reality is job-hunting techniques are changing quickly with technology and social networking. The outplacement industry is evolving especially as employers are now demanding new job search solutions. The right tools incorporate social media, mobile and online technology through a virtual career center, allowing job seekers to find the next opportunity wherever, whenever and as quickly as possible.

To download the survey report for free, click here.

Robin Richards is co-founder and CEO of LA-based, 3-year-old CareerArc Group, an online career ecosystem, connecting job and internship seekers with employers across the entire career lifecycle via Internships.com, TweetMyJobs and CareerBeam. Robin is a serial Internet entrepreneur who has started and sold five companies over the last 20 years.