Cell phone and PDA communications, VoIP, and of course the Internet explosion have made it easy for executives to monitor more and with greater speed, and made it easier for employees to keep records of their work and be more engaged in mechanical aspects of a business. All of these moves toward the virtual office are designed with that age-old business objective in mind: greater speed and efficiency while cutting costs.
Outplacement consultant jobs can be a haven or a godsend for those who have middle manager credentials. Outplacement consultant jobs can readily be found with outplacement consulting firms. These firms staff people who have been specially trained in the art and science of giving help to employees who have lost their jobs (note: not those who quit or are fired because of malfeasance). The outplacement consultant is akin to the human resources consultation specialist, but does not engage in job placement services like, for instance, temp agencies do. Instead, the consultant here acts more like a counselor and analyst, who helps the terminated employee better understand her own strengths and aptitudes to better find a good, suitable job and find it in less time than she otherwise would.
Indeed, outplacement consultants even have a partial role as psychiatrist. For one of the first things they need to do is counsel the terminated employee about the mental and emotional effects of job loss. Many employees who are good at what they do and have families and constructed lifestyles that rely on their job performance can face extremely stressful, even traumatic states of mind when they are first let go. While financial advisors tell people that they should have at least six months' equivalent of current earnings in their savings account for such stormy days, the typical person who is making middle manager or similar money has only two months' worth. As most people cannot receive more than 60% of their current salary in the form of unemployment insurance pay, this tremendous ''pay cut'' coupled with their lack of savings can have many people feeling they're staring down the barrel of a loaded gun.
But the outplacement consultant acts as a ''life coach'' at this juncture as well as a job-finding consultant. As many of these terminated employees have been with the same job or company for quite a while, they may never have needed to cultivate the skills that the consultant helps them with: job-hunting savvy, setting up and taking interviews, writing an effective resume, and understanding how to market themselves to potential employers, including the use of networking.
What is so different nowadays about this kind of consulting is that they are offered across a much broader spectrum of people. It's no longer just the 20-plus-years-in-one-place employee or just the senior management layoff that gets to be consulted. Professionals at many levels within a company can receive this service; and, some of the outplacement consultants are themselves former middle management, meaning they have first-hand experience understanding and guiding those terminated employees who were non-managerial.
When employees learn that their days at a company are numbered and layoffs or downsizing are coming, outplacement consultants often set up workshops or group seminars within a company's office so that they can begin showing those who are soon to be let go how best to prepare to quickly rebound from their situation. The consultant talks to the group about all the problems associated with losing a job. Then there will usually be follow up workshops to delve deeper into all of the post-jobs skills that an employee will need to find a new, suitable job quickly. Looking for a job is, after all, a full time job.
Some even more welcome news is that the company who is going to soon be terminating these employees usually picks up the tab for these workshops and seminars. There are also more and more organizations that provide one-on-one counseling for employees who have been given their notice of near future termination. Some of the large corporations have in-house outplacement consultants, who may in fact be corporate personnel managers who have been specially trained for this type of consultation.
EDUCATION AND COMPENSATION
There's no such thing as a degree in outplacement consulting. Although firms do look for some kind of college education when considering applicants, they're far more interested in a person's demonstrable aptitude for the job and relevant work-related experience that will permit them to have a realistic approach to what they are going to talk to people about. There are also people who decide to start their own outplacement consulting firm and have great success. Consultants work in an office environment, and they work from their own offices when not on-site at another company holding one of the above mentioned workshops or seminars.
Outplacement consultants are earning an average of $68,000 a year. There are those who are earning six-figure incomes. It depends on one's experience, position in a firm, and the firm's size and compensation structure as to how much one earns as an outplacement consultant.