It's not only older workers who get retrenched these days. A recent news report revealed that fresh grads on their first job are becoming prime candidates for retrenchment. As if mourning the end of your student days and getting used to the 9-6 daily grind wasn't enough, Singaporean 20-somethings now have to come to terms with the fact that despite having the lowest salaries on the team, they're still in danger of being let go.
No matter what your age, if you can say yes to any of the four questions below, it might make business sense for your company to retrench you:
Are you costing the company more money than you are bringing in?
Often times, people get retrenched not because they're lazy or incompetent, but simply because they're costing the company more money than they can bring in. It may not even be their fault. It could just be that the market isn't doing well, or that their role has not been designed to enable them to contribute effectively.
It's often difficult to quantify how much a particular employee is helping the company. But if you're in a role where it is obvious how much money you're bringing in, then it's time to sit up and pay attention to the figures to ensure you're not in trouble.
For instance, if you're a salesperson, it's a good idea to monitor your sales figures to ensure the amount of cash you bring the company justifies your salary. If the company bills clients according your time costs, such as in the case of litigation lawyers, you want to ensure you're charging for enough billable hours per month.
Is your job becoming obsolete?
While robots aren't exactly taking over all our jobs (yet), technology is rendering quite a few obsolete. If that's what's happening to your job, you're in trouble and had better try to learn some new tricks fast so you can transition into a different role.
For instance, many rookie real estate agents are dropping out of the game not only because of the sluggish property market, but also because the internet allows many potential buyers or renters to bypass using an agent altogether.
If your company says it's undergoing "restructuring", that's another warning sign that your job may suddenly cease to exist.
Is your job in danger of being outsourced?
Back office employees in banking aren't having a good year in Singapore. Barclays recently announced they would be cutting 100 IT jobs in Singapore. Apparently, many of these jobs are going to be moved to India, where employees are much cheaper to hire.
But it's not only outsourcing to cheaper countries that Singaporeans should be afraid of. In bad economic times, as the volume of work dwindles companies may choose to outsource certain roles to freelancers or part-time staff, which could be cheaper than having a full-time worker sit in the office all day. In a 2014 survey, 26 per cent of employers stated they were going to regularly use freelancers or contract staff, a 2 per cent increase from the previous year.
You are very replaceable
As much as you might like to believe that your lame jokes are something your colleagues can't live without, you're a lot more dispensable than you think. When companies need to cut corners, the guys who are most easily replaced are the first ones to go.
Even if your job isn't about to get taken over by robots right now, there are other signs that your company just doesn't really need you. Singapore SMEs are often guilty of making one employee do the work of five, and in tough times they simply fire people and force whoever's left behind to do the work.
If that's something that could happen at your company, it's probably time to start looking for a new job, because you're damned if you get retrenched, damned if you don't.
The article first appeared on MoneySmart
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