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The terms Outplacement (Engl.) And outplacement designate a funded business service to employees, which is offered as professional assistance for professional reorientation, to the conclusion of a new contract or a business startup.


This type of specialized career guidance originated in the United States . The soldiers who returned to the United States after World War II had to be reintegrated into civilian occupations. For this purpose, the armed forces of the US Army set up their own advice centers. Later the psychologists John Drake and Jerry Beam took up the topic again and founded the consulting firm Drake, Beam & Associates in 1967 , which was renamed Drake Beam Morin, Inc. in 1979 with William J. Morin as CEO ( Chief Executive Officer ) has been. There have been many qualified companies for outplacement consultancy in Europe since the 1990s.

Client and target groups

Outplacement advice in the company conveys internally and externally that the company is interested in "fair" separation processes. If this succeeds, it has a positive effect on the motivation of remaining employees and on the company's image in public. This increases the attractiveness in the competition for workers . At the same time, using the consultant can avoid long-term and expensive legal disputes. If the dismissed employee can find a new job more quickly with the help of the consultant, the remaining term of contracts is also reduced, which lowers costs.

The dismissed employee receives support in their search for a new job . The help ranges from putting together application documents to rehearsing job interviews . The employee thus improves his chances of success in applications. In addition, emotional and legal disputes with the old employer can be avoided. Outplacement consulting is not only limited to managers these days, but also benefits other qualified employees. In some social plans this service is agreed for all affected employees. In addition, consultants also offer their services as career advice for self-payers.


Outplacement consulting is usually divided into five phases:

  1. An initial analysis focuses on the worker's professional and personal situation and includes a realistic assessment of his or her career prospects.
  2. The second phase focuses on the professional and personal qualifications and the potential of the terminated person. Outplacement consultants create a qualification profile, determine the need for further training and recommend independent, individual qualification measures from educational institutions.
  3. In this phase, outplacement consultants develop an individual application strategy together with the job seeker, within the framework of which the professional objectives and the procedure for the applications are defined.
  4. The application phase includes the development of application documents , the implementation of applications, the preparation of job interviews and the evaluation of job offers. Here Outplacement consultants support an appealing individual job seekers, resume post and to formulate a written application and prepare an effective self-presentation at him with an interview training (if necessary via video) interview before. They show him new ways of looking for a job, such as short target group applications by email.
  5. In the last phase, the employee is supported in agreeing a new employment contract.

Most consultants offer both individual counseling and group outplacement.

Individual advice

In individual advice, outplacement consultants differentiate between fixed-term and open-ended programs. Temporary consultations last three, six, nine or twelve months. Open-ended individual consultations usually only end when the employee has found a new job. Preparing to start a business can also be the subject of individual advice. The consultant often supports his clients as part of unlimited individual consultations for a certain period beyond the conclusion of the contract. If such an employment relationship ends before the end of the probationary period , the consultant will resume work at no additional cost.

Group outplacement

The group outplacement is intended to provide professional support with reorientation even to non-executives after the termination through the reduced costs.

The following scenario gives an example: Due to a company takeover, the entire field service of a company is lost. The sales representatives are in a group training Professional reorientation prepared for the job search or self. The group training is followed by an individual consultation. Working in groups is also effective because those affected are in the same situation and can learn from the other participants through feedback about their own behavior.

Virtual outplacement consulting

Virtual outplacement consulting is one of the forms of online consulting and is also known under the term ePlacement , especially in the international arena . In contrast to classic outplacement consulting, the client and the responsible outplacement consultant communicate almost exclusively through the media. For communication, clients and consultants use technical means such as telephone, video telephony, screen sharing and chats . Workshops and training courses take place online, for example via webinar providers.

While critics miss the lack of personal contact between the applicant and the consultant with this approach, the proponents argue with the - in contrast to group measures - with the continuous individuality of the care and with the cost savings.

The job description of the outplacement consultant

The outplacement consultants include former managers and HR specialists. Other career counselors have no management experience, but experience as a coach , trainer, therapist, educator or psychologist. For several years now, recruitment agencies and personnel consultants have also been active as outplacement consultants. In Germany, outplacement consultants joined together in 1993 in the Outplacement Consulting Association of the Federal Association of German Management Consultants (BDU).

Cancellation agreement and severance pay

Employers must be prepared for the affected employee to negotiate the amount of his severance payment . More and more employers are therefore offering outplacement advice in addition to severance pay in termination agreements. In some cases, the companies even give the employees the alternative: outplacement advice or a higher severance payment.


  • Laurenz Andrzejewski, Hermann Refisch: Separation culture and employee loyalty - making dismissals, dismissals, transfers fair and efficient - 4th, updated a. exp. Ed. Wolters Kluwer Verlag, Cologne, 2015; ISBN 978-3-472-08660-4
  • BDU e. V .: BDU study outplacement advice in Germany 2007/2008 . Bonn, 2008;
  • Janine Berg-Peer: Outplacement in Practice . Gabler Publishing House, Wiesbaden, 2003; ISBN 3-409-11929-9
  • Christian M. Böhnke (Ed.): EPlacement: Outplacement 3.0 as an efficient and socially acceptable instrument in times of volatile markets. VPRM-Verlag, Troisdorf, 2012; ISBN 978-3-941388-44-4
  • Stefanie Heizmann: Outplacement . Verlag Huber, Bern 2003; ISBN 3-456-83956-1
  • Uwe Kern: Termination: career kick instead of career kick . Verlag Linde, Vienna, 2004; ISBN 3-7093-0028-2
  • Karl-Heinz List: Outplacement - From the termination interview to career advice . Verlag BW, Nuremberg, 2003; ISBN 3-8214-7624-9
  • Wolfgang Mayrhofer: Separation from the organization - from outplacement to separation advice . German University Press, Wiesbaden 1995; ISBN 3-8244-0015-4
  • Frank Müller, Hans B. Schiff, Gerd M. Strauch: Social transfer of personnel - Shaping change fairly with outplacement . Verlag Kohlhammer, 2005; ISBN 3-17-018985-9
  • Toni Nadig, Brigitte Reemts: Dismissal - Discharge? Outplacement as a bridge between decision-makers and those affected , Orell Füssli Verlag, Zurich, 2008; ISBN 3-280-05283-1
  • Urs Widmer : Top Dogs . Zurich 1997; ISBN 3-88661-189-2

Individual evidence

  1. DBM Inc. (Answers.com)
  2. cf. Ulrich Küntzel: Outplacement as telephone counseling . Personalmagazin 05/2004, p. 68
  3. cf. Christian M. Böhnke, in: ePlacement - Outplacement 3.0 . VPRM-Verlag, Troisdorf
  4. ^ BDU
  5. BDU study: Outplacement advice in Germany 20012/2013 (PDF; 1.2 MB)