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Jobs skills search on in earnest

WHILE few industries have escaped the effects of the global downsizing movement, the outplacement sector of the recruitment industry is experiencing a period of growth.

Some firms say the inquiries for services to help redundant employees find, or gain, the skills to find new jobs has doubled within the past six months.

IPA Personnel state manager Carmel Norris said that, while IPA did not advertise, the availability of service inquiries from IPA’s clients had increased.

“Inquiries have doubled in the past six months,” she said.

“People are asking us if we can do this type of service. I’d say it has been more prevalent in the past three months.”

Beilby’s manager of psychological service and outplacement division, Peter Giannus, said inquires had increased about 50 per cent in the past 12 months, which could be a combination of economic conditions and marketing activities.

“It’s hard to tell if it’s the economy or marketing that has caused the increase,” he said.

“There has been more activity in the past six months from our client base and unsolicited inquiries.

“Every economic indicator suggests this service is going to become more important.”

Ms Norris said economic factors would determine the level, and sustainability, of growth in the sector.

“I think it may increase but it will taper off because the economy is turning. There will not be so many large redundancies,” she said.

Another explanation for the increasing use of outplacement services may be that smaller and medium sized businesses were becoming more aware of the sector’s availability and role.

“A lot of people don’t know it exists,” Ms Norris said.

“They have an understanding of the ethical and moral responsibility. Larger organisations know about it. Companies want to use this service because they feel that responsibility for making a position redundant.”

Outplacement services enjoy high success rates, with figures from Beilby indicating 48 per cent of clients find work within six weeks and 80 per cent finding work inside 12 weeks.

Mr Giannus said companies chose to use outplacement services due to goodwill, to appease remaining staff, and to help former employees.

“Traditionally it will be those who will find it hard to get work that are offered this service,” he said.

Just about every recruitment or employment service offers some form of outplacement services. Davidson Trahaire’s WA state manager Ross Eatt has outlined the following steps he would take if having to choose which company to use to look after employees recently made redundant.

“When something becomes popular everyone thinks they’ve got something to offer. The real trick is to see lots and lots of people,” he said.

“People who can do a real job at it are thin on the line.”.

Mr Eatt said he would follow four processes before deciding what company to choose. He would find a large organisation which had retrenched people and find out how many providers it looked into and the reason it chose the company it did. He would use the Internet or Yellow Pages to find a list of firms. He would then ask to speak to the people in the outplacement division, not any other section because he wants to speak to the people looking after his people, find out their background and determine whether they care for his people. Lastly he would seek feedback from individuals who have gone through the company’s outplacement by either reading feedback forms or from interviewing people directly.

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