Why You Need To Be Ready For Retrenchment In 2024

CareerApril 01, 2024 12:00

In today's fast-paced and unpredictable global economy, job security is becoming increasingly precarious. Singapore, despite its robust economic landscape, is not immune to the waves of retrenchments sweeping across various industries. As geopolitical tensions rise and economic growth slows, businesses are forced to make tough decisions to stay afloat. For many, this means prioritising cost-cutting measures, with employee layoffs often being the first resort.

Here are three compelling reasons why Singaporean employees need to brace themselves for the possibility of retrenchment in 2024 and take proactive steps to prepare for the challenges ahead:

1. Increasing Incidence of Retrenchments

The year 2024 has already witnessed a wave of retrenchments across different sectors, signalling a worrying trend for job security. Major companies such as Shopback, Lazada, Unilever, PropertyGuru, Tetra Pak, and Electrolux have made headlines for downsizing their workforce. This trend is not unique to Singapore but reflects a global phenomenon as businesses realign their operations to navigate uncertain economic conditions.

2. Escalating Retrenchment Statistics

According to data from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the rate of retrenchments more than doubled in 2023 compared to the previous year. With 14,320 workers retrenched in 2023, compared to 6,440 in 2022, the job market is becoming increasingly competitive and challenging to navigate. Additionally, the job vacancy to unemployment ratio has declined, indicating a slowdown in job opportunities for retrenched individuals.

3. Impact of Global Trends

Singapore's economy is intricately connected to global trends, and current developments such as higher interest rates, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), and a slowdown in e-commerce growth are poised to reshape the job market. These trends not only influence business strategies but also contribute to structural changes in employment patterns. As companies pivot towards AI adoption and streamline operations, traditional job roles may become obsolete, necessitating reskilling and upskilling initiatives for affected workers.

Navigating Retrenchment: Resources and Strategies

While the prospect of retrenchment may seem daunting, there are proactive steps that employees can take to mitigate its impact and prepare for future career transitions:

1. Leverage SkillsFuture and Training Opportunities

Singapore's SkillsFuture programme offers a wealth of training courses and resources aimed at enhancing employability and skills development. Employees should take advantage of these initiatives to acquire new skills, stay relevant in the job market, and explore career pathways aligned with emerging industries.

2. Network and Build Professional Relationships

Maintaining a strong professional network can significantly enhance job prospects during periods of transition. Platforms like LinkedIn provide avenues for networking, job hunting, and staying updated on industry trends. Building meaningful connections with peers, mentors, and industry professionals can open doors to new opportunities and support during challenging times.

3. Embrace Lifelong Learning and Adaptability

In today's rapidly evolving job landscape, adaptability and lifelong learning are crucial for career resilience. Employees should cultivate a growth mindset, embrace change, and continuously seek opportunities for self-improvement. By staying agile and adaptable, individuals can navigate career transitions more effectively and thrive in dynamic work environments.

In conclusion, the spectre of retrenchment looms large over Singaporean employees in 2024, underscoring the importance of preparedness and resilience in the face of adversity. By staying informed, proactive, and resourceful, individuals can weather the storm of retrenchment and emerge stronger on the other side. Remember, while the road ahead may be uncertain, the power to shape one's career trajectory lies firmly in one's hands.


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