According to the latest Ministry of Manpower (MOM)’s data on the employment landscape in Singapore, more workers were retrenched in 2015. A total number of 13,440 workers were laid off, the highest since 2008-09, which of course was the Great Financial Crisis period. The spike in retrenchments in Singapore reflected the gloomy economic outlook and challenging times ahead.
As a wealth builder, my mantra is to work hard for money and also ensure that my money works hard for me. Being gainfully employed and having a good income is important in order for me to lay down a strong financial foundation for the family. Henceforth, the data on retrenchment is useful because they provide useful information on the impact of economic downturn and allow Singaporeans to identify which industry sectors are ailing.
The latest data from MOM is indeed worrying and I am thankful that I have a job. Sometimes, in the midst of our busy schedules, we tend to take things for granted and expect every day is Sunday in office. What we don’t realize that Singapore is rapidly losing its competitive edge because of high business costs. Many MNCs realize that the so-called talents in Singapore are not so highly skilled or possess niche knowledge that cannot be found in cheaper locations.
As a result, many companies in certain industries are starting to shift their operations to overseas countries like Thailand, China and India where talents are abundant and staff costs much lower. This means that Singapore PMETs are facing structural risk in their job prospects if they don’t start to up-skill their competencies.
If you are mid-level professional, it is important to learn how to progress in your career because if you don’t, nobody will do it for you. Pick up skills that will aid you in finding a better paying job and make sure that your next job is a step upward to your current one. Also, make sure that your personal finances is in order and ensure you have a pool of emergency fund that can help you last for at least 9 to 12 months. Diversify your wealth portfolio with different asset classes such as property, equity and gold bullion.
I read many articles of Singaporeans in their forties or fifties being retrenched and unable to find jobs in their industries. No matter how hard they tried, it seems that employers are unwilling to employ them. Instead, many employers prefer foreign applicants because they are cheaper and hungrier.
Thus, I feel that it is important for Singaporeans to have a flexible mindset and be receptive in working in other evergreen sectors like service, sales, medical and tourism. Starting from zero is indeed painful but it is better than being jobless. Don’t be a one-trick pony. Instead, start to complement your core competencies with new skills in other realms so that you can market yourself better or match skills that are demanded by industry.
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SG Wealth Builder