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Mercer recently surveyed US and Canadian employers to better understand how they are managing the most critical activities in the last phase of an employee’s life cycle: outplacement. The survey asked organizations to describe their current outplacement offering, its perceived effectiveness, and the importance of these services in the future. We compared these results against a similar survey conducted in 2018 to understand what has changed in terms of services over the past 3 years.
The number of employers offering outplacement continues to rise and the eligible population is also expanding. In 2018, 31% of organizations indicated that they offer outplacement for all or the majority of terminations. That number grew to 44% in 2021. In Canada, it seems that outplacement is even more ingrained, with 52% of Canadian respondents indicating that their organization provides outplacement services for all.
Historically, outplacement services were reserved for executives and considered to be part of the package to help them ‟land” safely in the case of a buyout, merger, or even termination. Not only has that practice long fallen by the wayside, with organizations offering outplacement to all employees, but the duration of time the services are provided is increasing as well, with 14% of mid-level employees receive outplacement services of 6 months or more, up from 6% in 2018.
While respondents indicated a 5% increase in how effective they feel their current outplacement service is, their number one concern was the cost associated with providing outplacement services. Interestingly enough, when asked what steps they have taken to address the cost — things such as negotiating with vendors or buying prepaid bundles — 37% of respondents indicated that they have not done anything to address cost concerns.
A paradigm shift has occurred in the outplacement space, where technology-driven, virtual services are more valued than in-person services. While the acceptance of remote services brought on by the pandemic is seemingly why these numbers have shifted so greatly since 2018, employers continue to see these services as being more important in the future, specifically virtual coaching services (important to 89% of survey participants) and virtual platforms (important to 87% of participants). The lack of overhead associated with virtual delivery will likely have a positive impact on cost, allowing companies to offer high-quality services at a lesser cost to more people.
How do your outplacement offerings stack up? For more information about our 2021 study or to learn more about Mercer’s more virtual, cost-effective approach to outplacement, click here or contact us.