Transition Services Adapt

Expected increase in restructuring and layoffs calls for more work transition services.

Latest market research from the World Employment Confederation (WEC) and the Association of Career Firms international (ACF) shows that the career management industry anticipates further waves of restructuring for 2021. The overall impact of this will be that the provision of career transition services will grow by up to 10 per cent globally. There is a warning however that the sector needs to watch out for the quality of services in order to guarantee successful and sustainable transitions for workers.

Labour markets have been shaken up by the Covid-19 crisis, with many businesses facing downturns, restructuring or closures, and millions of workers left with uncertain work prospects. The need for support in navigating transitions is more critical than ever and 2021 market forecasts for the career management sector confirm an increasing demand for professional advice and personalised services to support sustainable transitions and agile labour markets.

According to a survey amongst the members of the sector’s main professional associations, the World Employment Confederation (WEC) and the Association of Career Firms International (ACF International), the market for transition support services is expected to further grow globally by up to 10 per cent in 2021, to support over 2.5 million individuals.

Regional differences in demand evolution are observed where countries with more robust emergency worker protection (in the form of short-time working or subsidised furlough schemes) are generally expected to generate stronger need for work transitions in 2021. With some countries currently applying lay-off bans and expected to grow at up to 30 per cent, the biggest risk is to find a saturated market when the public support schemes end and many workers come to the labour market at the same time.

High volumes put pressure on quality of services

Companies have started to understand the importance of assuming their social responsibility towards their employees and supporting them more generously by using work transition services; hence the expected high volume of demand for services in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. Career management firms however fear that as available budgets are under pressure and mutual competition has increased sharply, the price pressure could result in low quality services, which eventually jeopardise an employee’s chance to land a new work opportunity quickly and ultimately impact the overall trust in the services.

When asked about the most in-demand services that employees in transition will be looking for in 2021, career management firms see connections to potential job opportunities as critical. But that alone does not suffice to ensure successful and sustainable work transition. One on one coaching and support in development of job search skills also come up as most result-providing services in the current environment.

The report also found the Covid-19 crisis has accelerated the uptake of digital solutions. Private career management firms, whether global players or boutique companies, remarkably pivoted to offer all their services entirely virtually during the lockdowns. Often, they combine the use of virtual platforms with remote personal services. This trend is expected to continue beyond the Covid crisis but many career management firms also believe in keeping an in-person presence in their service offering.

Career transition services become more important in a labour market that is momentarily quite difficult with the Covid-19 crisis and the subsequent economic downturn. This situation is reflected in the forecast by the sector’s main professional associations who underline that the challenges of the situation can be offset by quality services.

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