Guest post by Colm Cavey of Professional Career Consulting, on some less obvious issues relating to jobs and career change activity.

Over the last period, there have been lots of excellent news vis-a-vie job opportunities, new businesses opening and the creation of job opportunities all around. However, this should not allow for any level of complacency among applicants. New opportunities mean that those wishing to progress their career will also be in the queue for consideration.

Without a doubt, every opportunity will bring lots, maybe hundreds of applications and yours will be in the middle somewhere. That’s all good news, but there is a darker side of which we hear very little.  

Unfortunately, every day, every week there are job losses in small amounts here there and everywhere, and they all add up to a substantial amount. They don’t individually make the news, so you don’t hear much about them. You only ever hear about the big ones which may be as a result of a downsizing exercise, a change of market or just a closure for lack of business. A new threat now emerging is the unknown consequences of Brexit once it takes effect.

Again and again, I hear people say ‘ah sure we knew it was coming’ or ‘business has been on the slide for ages’ and yet despite this nobody makes a move in advance. They wait until the day of the bad news. Then there is a rush to the door. If you’re in this situation, anticipate and start your exit plans well in advance. Once redundancies are announced, along with all your colleagues you will be chasing precisely the same jobs at the same time and in the same area. Tough competition that you don’t need.

When redundancies are announced depending on the company and their resources, career change assistance may, and should be a part of the exit package. With some companies experiencing extreme cash shortages the exit package may be the statutory payment and no more. With others who have resources at their disposal, various forms of additional assistance can and should be made available.

When a company is formulating a redundancy package, you can liken it to Santa Clause preparing the Christmas stockings. The big attractive gifts are on the top, the one that will catch your attention and distract you from the small, stocking fillers underneath.

The big money item will usually be the cash payment. At the very least it could be just statutory, or in other cases, depending on the resources of the company redundancy amount could be statutory plus a week’s salary multiplied by the number of year’s service. If you have been with a company for many years, this could add up to a substantial amount. There are strict legal guides to what and how to calculate payments, so it is essential to get professional advice from a Legal or Financial expert regarding your entitlements.

Apart from your severance payment, other support commonly offered;

Accountants: A meeting with their accountants for advice on managing that lump sum and any other financial commitments you may have.

Negotiate your company car: If you have one, this will be dictated primarily by the manner in which the company acquired the vehicle, e.g., leases etc. Do a good deal to buy it outright if you can.

Bonuses: Sometimes a cash bonus will be offered if you commit to remaining with the company until the last day of the notice period agreed. Agree your commission for any business written by you, but will be paid after your departure.

Career Support or Outplacement Services:

This facility comes in many forms and is more valuable than it may appear. Getting a lump sum is very attractive but getting redeployed quickly is more important.  It will amaze you how fast your credit balance will disappear when there is no cash coming in at the other end.

A typical Outplacement offer will probably be a one day group of 8/10 getting C.V. advice or if you’re more senior a typical offer is a consultant to edit your C.V. and then provide a one to one consultation for 1 hour. This arrangement is the cheapest Outplacement offering you can buy.  Why any company would offer such a limited support, is a wonder to me? It is my view; this level of service is just about useless. I expect that the company wants to be seen to do something for out-going employees.

There is little to be gained in such a short period other than broad ‘pointers’ as to what you should be doing. This kind of offer is the bottom of the pile, and you should rightly feel short-changed, so argued it with H.R. They can easily increase the consultation time at a little extra cost to them. You would be far better off to ask for the value of the service paid to you and then buy the service privately. You will get 100’s % better value.

To be effective, a structured programme should look and advise on the main topics to be addressed, if you want to carry out a well planned and swift redeployment. You’re career Direction, Your C.V., introduction messages, your presentation, interview practice, who, where, when and how you should approach the job market are all the essential elements to be addressed in a professionally conducted, personalised and supportive, career change programme. Don’t be sold short, insist on full support and not just a gesture.

So I would regard the one hour face to face a bit like the obligatory Rubik Cube at the very button of the Christmas Sock – A Stocking Filler.

Dig in and don’t be afraid to ask. After all, you have just been told you’re redundant, so they can’t fire you twice.

Good Luck!

Top Tips, provided by PCC, provide professionally delivered, supportive and most importantly, successful career change and redeployment assistance to private clients from all sectors of Industry.  Enquiries are welcome and treated in the strictest confidence. Tel: 086-3017207 and 01-2819056.

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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