Nobody is ever prepared for retrenchment. And when retrenchment strikes, it certainly feels like the end of the world. This is especially so if you are a middle-aged white-collar PMET. With the job market saturated with young graduates and foreign talents, finding a position that matches your last drawn salary could be a challenge. Without retrenchment support, things can spiral out of control.
With the unfolding trade war between US and China, Singapore’s economic growth is expected to slow to 0 to 1% this year. Against this backdrop, the job market in Singapore currently looks hazy. According to Ministry of Manpower, the number of retrenchments in the first half of this year stood at about 5,500, slightly more than the 5,300 recorded in the same period last year.
Whilst it is not possible to change the macro-economic conditions, Singaporeans can certainly take steps to safeguard themselves against the spectre of retrenchments. The worst thing in life is to be complacent and assume that your job will always be there. Such assumption may not be valid anymore given the structural changes in industries and the constant technological disruptions.
Our ability to earn income is key to building wealth. Therefore, it is important to ensure our skillsets remain relevant and that we have transferable skills that can be tapped on for future job opportunities. To make yourself more “employable”, you may consider reading up on the available retrenchment support programmes and industry insights in this Workforce Singapore portal.
Career Coach at WSG
The perennial complaint by those who suffered from retrenchments is the perceived lack of retrenchment support from the government. I used to think so too until the folks at Workforce Singapore reached out to me recently and shared with me their “Adapt and Grow” initiative. Most importantly, they shared with me the work of WSG career coaches.
A primary role of a WSG career coach is to provide retrenchment support to Singaporeans. For PMETs with diploma and above qualification, aged 30 and above and unemployed for more than 3 months, they can make an appointment with the WSG career coaches through this link.
There are several myths surrounding WSG career initiatives. The first is that they only help blue-collar workers suffering from retrenchments. This is not true.
In fact, the Career Support Programme is a salary support scheme aimed at encouraging employers to hire Singaporean PMETs by defraying a portion of their salaries. WSG career coaches can help applicants to match with the suitable employers under this retrenchment support programme.
Another myth about WSG career coach is that they charge applicant for their work. This is also not true. Most people have this impression probably because they function like employment agents. The difference is that the WSG career coaches provide job matching services for free because they are public servants. Basically, they help job applicants to be more appealing to employers by profiling applicants’ strengths, updating their resumes and setting up their online accounts (Linkedin, JobsBank and Facebook).
But I reckon the biggest advantage of approaching WSG career coaches, instead of any other employment agencies out there, is that the folks at WSG have a wealth of industry network that applicants can tap on. In this blog, I have always emphasized that nothing beats the power of network when it comes to securing the next job.
You can have the most relevant experience for the job. You may have the best qualifications to meet the requirements of that vacancy. You can have the most suitable personality to take on that position. But at the end of the day, most employers would prefer referrals from insiders before considering applications from outsiders. Therefore, never underestimate the power of network.
Panacea for retrenchment
Despite the above, it should be highlighted that a career coach is not the panacea for retrenchment. In today’s context, it is not realistic for Singaporeans to think that they will never be made redundant. The rapid changes in technology inevitably led to transformations in various industries, resulting in structural changes in our economy. This means that many jobs would become obsolete and when affected employees are laid off, their positions disappeared as well.
Henceforth, if you are not careful, you may find yourself in the frightening prospect of being retrenched. Even in the civil service, contract jobs have become so much prevalent. Contract worker may be let go when the employment contract ends. Even if you are a permanent staff working in the civil service, it does not mean that your career longevity is guaranteed. If you made any mistakes, especially where money is concerned, you may be asked to resign.
In this new economy, knowledge is key to financial destiny. The market is ever evolving because of changing demands. So what you have learned in school may not be relevant to the industry any more. You need to re-invent yourself in order to be more marketable to employers. Picking up new skills in emerging industries like cyber-security and green technology is one way of staying ahead of the competition.
In the past, if you have a post-graduate degree, you are likely to be eligible for management posts which comes along with higher salaries. Now the game has changed. With so many local and foreign post-graduates flooding the market, your post-graduate degree will not make much difference. In fact, for the employers, they would often go for the most value-for-money candidates – most qualified applicants asking for the competitive salaries.
To be a successful wealth builder, you need to categorize your income sources into active and passive baskets. For the active income, you must strive to achieve career longevity. To do so, start gaining transferable skills that can make you look versatile to employers and go for courses that build up your competence in other fields. In today’s environment, it is common to have second, third or even more career changes. At the end of the day, you should always pledge your alliance to your job craft and not your employer. Knowledge is king.
To establish passive income streams, you must learn how to invest through taking calculated risks. It is not going to be easy and along the way, you will make mistakes. But you learn from failures. The more you fail, the closer you are to your investment goals. The bottom-line is to make money, you must take risks. The biggest risk in your financial destiny is not taking any risks at all.
I hope this article has managed to reach out to you and convince you the merits of signing up SG Wealth Membership. Don’t procrastinate anymore my friend. This is about building long-term relationship and I certainly look forward to you coming on board. Together, we can forge a better tomorrow.