Outplacement 101: What Are Outplacement Services?

Dealing with downsizing, redundancies and layoffs.


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Last updated: November 16th, 2023

what are outplacement services

Last updated: November 16th, 2023

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Outplacement services are support systems for those who have recently lost their jobs. A company specialising in outplacement will usually be contracted by the employee’s previous employer, though individuals can also seek help from these services.

How Does Outplacement Work?

Outplacement programs aim to preserve the employer brand and support departing employees.

Depending on what outplacement firm you go through, services could include help with:

  • Termination planning and execution
  • Resume and LinkedIn profile development
  • Career coaching (one-on-one coaching is best)
  • Interview preparation coaching
  • Introductions to recruiters
  • Personal value proposition development

How Much Do Outplacement Services Cost?

The former employer pays for these services, granting the departing employee free access to career resources.

The cost of outplacement assistance varies greatly, depending on the seniority of the exiting employee, what type of services are included and the length of the support period.

Ballpark industry averages are:

  • Budget outplacement programs with a large self-directed component: $500-$1000 per person.
  • Mid-tier outplacement programs: $1,000-$3,000 per person.
  • Bespoke executive programs: $10,000- $30,000 per person.

(Related: 13 Stages Of The HR Lifecycle).

5 Key Benefits Of Outplacement Services.

Job loss is often accompanied by intense negative emotions such as sadness, anger, and fear.

These frustrations are easy to understand, as exiting employees are confronted with sudden change and instability in their lives.

Key benefits of outplacement services are:

  • Improved morale of remaining employees.
  • Improved career prospects of exiting employees.
  • Preserved employer brand and reputation.
  • Reduced risk of unfair dismissal lawsuits.
  • Saved costs (Harvard Business Review reports that a company with a poor reputation pays $4,723 more per hire).


Outplacement services provide resources and a safety net for people during times of upheaval, so they don’t feel alone and unsupported while looking for their next job opportunity.

3 Frequently Asked Questions About Outplacement.

Is your company thinking about implementing an outplacement program? Here are some frequently asked questions about outplacement to help you make the best decision for your business.

1. Does the job seeker pick up the outplacement bill?

No. Outplacement programs are usually paid for by the employer, so exiting employees can take advantage of them without spending any money.

To ensure you’re getting the best value for your company, look at how well a firm has done in the past and compare that to customer satisfaction ratings.

2. Don’t recruitment firms provide something similar?

Recruiters can’t do what outplacement firms and career coaches can do.

“You get what you pay for” principle applies – free services are usually of substandard quality and come with a catch.

In the case of outplacement, the catch is that recruitment firms work for the employer while outplacement services protect the interests of the employees.

3. How do I know that my former employees are advancing?

Status reports can – and should – be included by your outplacement provider.

Are Outplacement Services All The Same?

Unfortunately, most outplacement providers claim to be different and innovative but provide generic career transition support services that haven’t changed since the 1990s.

Modern outplacement services, like those offered by Arielle Executive, differ in one important way.


Our #1 goal is to build a business case for you, which clearly articulates what you bring to the table, and how you differ from dozens of other applicants with similar skills and career backgrounds.

No other outplacement provider in Australia does this.

What Outplacement Services Are Not.

The outplacement service provider does not act as a personal shopper who does all the heavy lifting in a redundant employee’s job search journey.

The outplacement program provider is NOT responsible for:

  • Procuring jobs
  • Placing employees in jobs
  • Applying to jobs on a transitioning employee’s behalf.

The focus of outplacement services is centered around:

  • Strategic career coaching to help former employees make an optimal next career step
  • Brand development to help employees articulate their commercial value to future employers

Career Transition Services vs Outplacement.

Career transition and outplacement are terms that people use interchangeably, but they technically mean different things.

  • Career transition services focus on counselling individuals who are changing employers or have simple needs.
  • Outplacement programs focus on helping those who have complex needs, need to change industries, or make a radical career change.

That said, this line is most often ignored by employers and exiting employees alike. I recommend you keep things simple by using the term outplacement.

Choosing An Outplacement Provider.

This is a controversial topic. The reality is that most outplacement providers provide cookie-cutter services that provide very little value to exiting employees.

Some examples of meaningless outplacement support are:

  • Reactionary resume feedback that pushes the task of resume writing onto your former employees.
  • Generic job search advice that can be easily found on the Internet.
  • Digital portals that promise to improve employee outcomes with “AI” and “predictive analytics”.

Don’t fall for the marketing fluff.

The most important ingredient of effective outplacement is effective value proposition development for your exiting employee.

It is only once the value proposition is elicited and understood, career marketing documents can be written to convey it to potential employers.

Your exiting employees should never be asked to write or edit their documents by an outplacement provider.


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