Outplacement, deemed as a vehicle for a friendly redundancy between employer and employee, is a mean of career coaching, an industry that helps find jobs and rebuild careers for those who lose their jobs.

“It is obvious that the demand for outplacement services will rise further on, with a financial sector bracing itself for redundancies. We expect a rise in demand from middle and large companies, national and multinational, with solid human resources department and a work culture that entails a special concern for own employees. Amid a dwindling economy, we will probably see an increase in demand for outplacement services, with many companies already attaching this facility in their own portfolio”, Corina Diaconu, managing director at ABC Human Capital told Wall-Street.

The company, she noted, recorded a 10-15% increase in demand for outplacement and expects further rise in turnover until mid 2009.

Marian Manolache, managing partner at Skill Team expects a roughly 15 million euro rise in amounts allocated to outplacement, counting down the redundancy pays for downsized employees.

HR specialists with Aims Human Capital have also felt the demand for outplacement services as one of the few positive effects set off by the financial crisis. The firm recorded a rising demand compared to more than a year of full absence, according to Madalina Unceanu, executive director at Aims Human Capital.

Although the players see an upward trend for this type of services, the outplacement is still not among the top priorities of employers. “I haven’t seen so far any company to say the budgets allocated to layoffs are not designed for other than redundancy pays. I think it is a service that many consider to be ‘exotic’ and don’t understand its utility, even though the west-European countries use it for a long time”, said Dana Pascu, managing partner at HR Business Consulting.

Moreover, Manolache added that not-knowing this service determines 95% of the employers to ignore the professional outplacement services, mentioning that employers’ disregard can trigger legal consequences, in the number of trials in labor legislation or image, atrocious comments for former employers. “Right now, Romania is grasping the need for outplacement, but the hard nut will be to belie the preconception that layoff consists in merely redundancy pays”, Manolache added.

There is no statistics on the number of companies that use the outplacement services, given the fact that it’s still a new concept in Romania, said Corina Diaconu.

Still, in the absence of a specific legislation, many employers narrow their layoff benefits in offering redundancy pays or the equivalent of a redundancy pay in the event of a voluntary layoff, without investing in additional career coaching for their former employees. “The trend is very visible at local-capital companies. Multinational companies use these services more often, as support for their former employees”, Diaconu added.

Those who use these services come from various fields of expertise, mostly those who are severely afflicted by the crisis. Constructions, car industry, real estate, processing industry, metallurgy, financial and FMCG are only few of the sectors that redirected their HR policy to laid-off workers.

According to the profile of the company and its budget, the tariff for outplacement assistance for one person varies from few hundred euros to 2,500 euro per employee, said Manolache.