Why is there such a difference in costs between outplacement providers?

Good Outplacement Vs Cheap Outplacement - How to Know What You'll Get and the right questions to ask the concultant

Updated 2020

Unlike a cheap and cheerful Prada knock off, compared to the luxurious real thing, knowing the difference between outplacement providers in Australia will make a genuine difference to your workforce culture and your business reputation going forward.  Cheap outplacement services may seem fine on the surface but it doesn’t take much to see the stitching come apart.

HR and Finance Managers are under pressure to reduce costs.  So of course, the first instinct is to opt for cheap outplacement services. They go with the cheapest quote, assuming ‘it’s all the same”, after all they’ve been tasked with the deeply unpleasant job of saving money on, often valuable and well-liked, staff.

Unfortunately, outplacement services aren’t like knock off Prada handbags. Providing outplacement services is a very real, life-changing and company culture-changing exercise.   Like a vinyl handbag, you get what you pay for. Here is what you need to know when asking how much do outplacement services cost?

Why do outplacement services vary in cost?

In every industry, you’ll get a high-end quote and a cheap and cheerful one.  Cheap outplacement services differ from quality, outcome-driven outplacement in some very important, key ways.

1/. Outplacement career coaches come with significantly different levels of skills and experience.

A short course plus 12 months’ experience in “churn” recruitment does not an outplacement consultant make.  It’s essentially asking the junior bookkeeper to do financial forecasting for the firm – what could go wrong?

Despite their best intentions, without life experience, emotional maturity, breadth of knowledge, or work experience a novice can create detrimental “newbie” mistakes with important financial and emotional repercussions.

I did a short course, now I’m a coach!


Whether it’s a business coach, a life coach, a home organisation coach (yes, this is a thing), a baby sleep coach or a relationship coach, the current red-hot trend of doing a quick course to brand yourself an expert is not just worrying, it may be fraught with future legal problems.  There’s a coach for everything these days and you need literally no qualifications to practice.

I’ve also seen professionals from other industries decide to undertake a short coaching course and then brand themselves as outplacement specialists, even though they have:

  • never worked with individuals who are in distress or who are experiencing significant change
  • never undertaken an interview for anything but their own technical specialty
  • no idea of the workings of internal recruitment departments in organisations.

I may be old fashioned but to consider yourself worthy of providing advice as a coach/mentor/consultant, you should actually be… well, worthy.  I’m an executive coach and outplacement consultant in Melbourne.  And I’m 100% qualified and experienced. So this stuff really gets on my nerves.

2/. Outplacement career coaches come with significantly different levels of passion, and energy.

Some people do it for a job while others are outplacement career coaches because it’s their passion. And sadly, some start with the passion, but then after working for an outplacement organisation that requires them to see eight clients a day, every day, they become burnt out, worn out and tired. As we all would after working under those circumstances.

A good outplacement career coach must be resilient.  This is, in part, a psychology role.  Finding a resilient, passionate outplacement consultant, rather than a churn and burn style consultant, is not just recommended, but mandatory.

3/. The all-important level of personalised care and attention can differ dramatically across providers

On “churn and burn” – all recruitment companies have different styles. Some provide extensive and focused customer care.  Some slap up an ad or two and tick boxes on resumes then move on.  The quality of the employee match and the likelihood of an excellent result is left to your team’s interviewing process.

With outplacement though, your team has effectively released this worker.  There’s no “safeguard”.  They’re on their own.

Anyone who has used a “churn and burn” recruitment agency has also borne the cost of hires that didn’t work out, that cost a fortune in training, managing, and ultimately firing – only to start from scratch.

So what does that look like for cheap outplacement services from these agencies?

They’re sitting in a room with a group of other recently outplaced workers, hearing their stories and getting a one size fits all answer, a template and a tick box sheet.  Which frankly, is hope destroying.  It’s depressing.  It’s dehumanising.  It’s all those things that as an industry, we’re here to combat, not create.

Nevertheless, tickboxes are easy. When coaches are inexperienced this approach works better for the outplacement provider. It doesn’t, however, always work better for the client, who is an individual with individual needs.

The purpose of outplacement consulting is to make your former employee job-ready.  Job-ready in a professional sense, in a job application sense, and most importantly in an emotional resilience sense.  A job seeker with an attitude of defeat will not get offers, regardless of how many boxes their consultant ticked.  The longer they stay in a state of defeat, the longer their former colleagues, your current employees, fret about their own future.  Complain about the workplace.  Consider you a “mean employer” for ruining their colleague’s life – and by extension, potentially ruining their own lives.

Is it worth saving a few hundred bucks to risk that?

So what about mid-priced outplacement services?

Well, as Australia’s first choice for midpriced outplacement services, we have an opinion on this.  It’s not an accident we’re right in the middle.  We know we’re not the cheapest, and we know we’re not the most expensive.  We know we’re not one of the big “churn and burns”.  We also know we’re not the “pay per river view” types.  We focus on the job.  On doing the job well.  We focus on the exiting employee, so we can deliver more to the employer.  We know that done right, everyone benefits from better quality outplacement.  That’s why our outplacement services are individually focused, one-on-one, personal strategies for moving forward.

We provide:

  • experienced and passionate coaches who have worked in corporate HR and recruitment departments for at least 10 years
  • quality content relevant to the Australian market place
  • tailored solutions for both the employers and the individuals participating in our program.

Plus, we pay our coaches well so they can offer the time and energy needed to treat each of their clients with the respect and attention that they deserve.  For anyone who has worked in a churn and burn agency, they’ll know exactly how much churn is needed to make a decent wage.

We are there when participants in the outplacement program need us, not when it suits us.

Some other outplacement providers aim to not have people attend the sessions once they have been paid by the organisation, so their profit margin is higher. And they put a timeframe on when the clients can come back. At Let’s Talk Career, we follow up over a period of months to ensure that we give people the support they need if they are struggling. Recently we had a client come back to us who wanted to recommence his program after eight months away doing his own thing. We were happy to welcome him back.

Value and Results – It’s a Pretty Simple Choice

The choice of outplacement consultants must be about good value and excellent results.  If you believe this, we should work together, we’ll make a good fit!

Get a (Reasonably Priced, Good Value) Quote

Lets Talk Career