As Average Duration of Unemployment for Laid-Off Workers Grows, RiseSmart Calls on Outplacement Industry to Innovate or Risk Irrelevance

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Traditional outplacement firms are “stuck in the past” and “simply not doing enough to put people back to work,” says RiseSmart CEO Sanjay Sathe.

RiseSmart CEO Sanjay Sathe says the outplacement industry must innovate to help reduce the rising average duration of unemployment in the United States.

Long unemployment durations result not only from a lack of jobs, but also from systematic inefficiencies in matching laid-off workers with available positions

In today’s harsh economic climate marked by high unemployment, exhausted benefits, foreclosed houses and struggling families, a Silicon Valley-based leader in talent transition is calling upon the U.S. outplacement industry to innovate now -- or risk becoming irrelevant.

While RiseSmart’s high-tech, high-touch approach to outplacement is putting people back to work twice as fast as the national average, other outplacement providers have done little to adapt to changing market conditions. This has contributed to a troubling increase in the average duration of unemployment for laid-off workers.

“Long unemployment durations result not only from a lack of jobs, but also from systematic inefficiencies in matching laid-off workers with available positions,” explains Sanjay Sathe, RiseSmart founder and CEO. “This can be laid at the feet of both traditional outplacement firms and the limitations of online job boards.

“RiseSmart has been laser-focused on solving this problem for workers – and our results speak for themselves.”

A Troubling Problem -- and a Promising Solution

The ranks of the long-term unemployed have been growing rapidly. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the seasonally adjusted average duration of unemployment in August 2010 was 34 weeks. Of the 15 million Americans currently unemployed, more than 7 million have been out of work for more than six months, and nearly 5 million for an entire year. In the past year alone, the percentage of unemployed workers who have been jobless for six months or more has doubled.

By contrast, workers in RiseSmart’s Transition Concierge outplacement program secure new employment in an average of 18 weeks, or approximately four months, the most recent RiseSmart survey data shows. That’s just over half the average duration of unemployment for U.S. workers.

Why RiseSmart Works for Laid-Off Workers

RiseSmart Transition Concierge employs a stable of tactics that can be described as both high-tech and high-touch to stand apart from others in the industry, and from what jobseekers can accomplish on their own via online job-board searches. Powered by proprietary aggregation and semantic search tools, Transition Concierge delivers highly personalized job leads to each employee on a weekly basis. Jobseekers provide feedback that is incorporated in the RiseSmart database to continually improve search results.

But technology is only part of the Transition Concierge story. Laid-off workers receive personal assistance during every step of the job-finding process – both from Job Concierges, who hone automated search results for each employee, and from Transition Specialists, who help jobseekers prepare and apply for specific opportunities.

Transition Concierge dispenses with low-value, "soft services" like group counseling and the provision of temporary office space, which have been the foundation of traditional outplacement services for a generation. Instead, RiseSmart focuses on what displaced workers want most: help with marketing themselves through the creation of all-new, personalized resumes and cover letters; guidance from a job-search expert, including assistance in using online social networks; and -- most importantly -- actionable job leads from across the Web based on their specific criteria.

A Challenge to the Outplacement Industry

RiseSmart's consistent focus on innovation has energized the $3 billion outplacement industry and earned Transition Concierge a growing roster of Fortune 500 clients. Now, RiseSmart is calling on traditional outplacement providers to step up their games and start providing the urgent help that today’s laid-off workers need.

“It’s time for other outplacement providers to join us in leveraging technology and new ideas to meet this challenge and start delivering the results that American workers deserve,” Sathe says.

About RiseSmart

RiseSmart provides the next-generation outplacement and recruitment process outsourcing solutions. The company leverages a common technology platform, proven methodologies, and one-on-one support to help employers with their workforce strategy, and displaced employees with their career strategy. RiseSmart drives significant ROI to organizations by offering affordable pricing, reducing severance costs and unemployment taxes for outplacement services and reducing cycle time and cost of hire for recruiting services. For more information, visit

Scott Baradell


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