According to the Ministry of Manpower’s latest report on Redundancy and Re-entry into Employment 2014, PMETs are more vulnerable to redundancy, with 7.3 made redundant for every 1,000 PMETs, compared to production workers (5.7 per 1,000) and clerical, sales and service workers (2.8 per 1,000).
With the growing focus on greater productivity and efficiency in the country, business leaders in Singapore have been restructuring their organisations and leveraging technologies to reduce manpower costs.
The demand for skilled workers has been especially elastic, so when companies need to trim costs, it is not surprising that these workers will be let go first.
Redundancy can be a devastating experience, particularly in middle age. However, there are ways to soften the blow and if it is dealt with wisely, your redundancy can actually be a blessing in disguise. See it as an opportunity or a change for the better instead.
Here are some tips to help you get back on track after being made redundant:
Take time to think
You might have been working non-stop at your last job but going nowhere. There may have been times when you wondered whether another job would be more suitable for you but you never had the courage to take that first step. Now is the time.
Do not plunge into a frenetic job search and grab the first job that comes your way. Instead, take a step back and embark on a journey of self-discovery. Ask yourself why you were laid off, what skills you currently have, what you would like to do in the next few years and what skills you would need to do that job.
Self-reflection helps to map out your strengths and interests — it will give you a clearer direction when you job hunt and a higher likelihood of landing a job that gives you pleasure and satisfaction.
Upskilling is key
With today’s rapidly evolving technology and continuously changing labour market landscape, you need to constantly upskill yourself to ensure that your skills remain relevant.
Post-redundancy is a good time to retrain yourself; you can attend full-time courses. Sign up with educational institutions, or if you have budget restraints, look for good quality free online courses such as Coursera and Open Culture.
You can also leverage on the various training programmes provided by the Government, such as the PMET Career Skills Workshops run by The Singapore Workforce Development Agency.
MOM’s report found that the main reason PMETs took longer to secure their re-entry into employment was that they spent too much time seeking jobs that matched their specific skills, qualifications and salary expectations.
With the stiff competition from talent both at home and abroad, you will need to be flexible about the roles you seek so that you don’t narrow the pool of potential jobs.
Be clear about what you value most — is it work-life balance, good career progression, interesting job content, the remuneration package or other factors? There is no job that ticks all your boxes — weigh up your priorities and be flexible with other attributes.
Do not take the job loss personally and let it ruin your confidence. The good news is that with Singapore’s low unemployment rate, there are plenty of vacancies out there. To re-enter the workforce in a stronger position, it is imperative for you to be adaptable, flexible and willing to constantly upgrade your skills.