Over the past few months, Singapore has been hit with news of companies laying off employees. If the signs of global downturn are not clear enough yet, you're probably still staying inside a very comfortable bubble.
Here's the list of the companies laying off employees since late last year, along with companies that have announced that they are undergoing cost-cutting:
1. Standard Chartered
Global bank Standard Chartered had laid off a number of people in Singapore late last year as it axed 15,000 jobs globally. Its previous workforce globally was at 86,000, and currently employs about 7,000 staff in Singapore.
A senior StanChard Singapore staff told Channel News Asia that they are distracted and confused about what they should do next. "We are certainly not in a position to negotiate better salaries with other potential employers. The uncertainty is quite scary. We are neither in a position to pick up nor refuse the not-so-attractive job offers in our hands."
HSBC has announced that they will be freezing salaries and freezing hiring in 2016 globally in the battle to cut costs.
"As flagged in our Investor Update, we have targeted significant cost reductions by the end of 2017," a spokeswoman for HSBC told Reuters.
The cost cutting measures will affect the bank's more than 3,000 employees in Singapore. However, it has also announced that it will be establishing a larger presence in Singapore as part of the company's move to incorporate in Singapore.
According to a report on Straits Times, more than 30 employees at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) have been laid off earlier in February as the gaming sector faces cost pressures around the world.
However, the laid off was due to overstaffing and it is not an isolated case. There are currently about 12,000 people working at Resorts World Sentosa.
Rakuten, an e-commerce site in Singapore, has also shared that they are shutting down their Rakuten Marketplace in Singapore, as well as laying off 150 staff from the company. Rakuten would no longer process new purchases from March onwards, two years after it began operations in Singapore since January 2014.
Maersk Line, one of the world's top container shipping company, has recently merged its Singapore and Hong Kong regional offices. Last November, Maersk also shared new plans to reduce its network capacity and announced that it will be cutting 4,000 jobs from its land-based staff of 23,000 by 2017.
6. Yahoo Singapore
According to a report from Channel News Asia, Yahoo Singapore has been laying off some employees as part of the company's move to revamp its Internet Business. No details were disclosed on exactly how many employees are being laid off, but what we do know is that the Singapore operations will continue.
Barclays has also announced that it is slashing 1,000 jobs worldwide. Out of the global layoffs, more than 10 employees from the equities and local market rates teams in Singapore will be retrenched, according to Business Times. Barclays Singapore currently employs about 3,200 staff.
8. Royal Bank of Scotland
Royal Bank of Scotland has also announced that they could be cutting as many as 80 per cent of the jobs in its investment banking unit over the next four years. A Straits Times report also said that back in July 2015, the Royal Bank of Scotland trimmed its presence here in Singapore, laying off "hundreds" of people.
9. Credit Suisse
The same Straits Times report also shared that Credit Suisse announced 4,000 job cuts globally, although no layoffs are expected in the Asia-Pacific region yet.
10. Deutsche Bank AG
Deutsche Bank AG, a German global banking and financial services company headquartered in Frankfurt, is considering cutting as many as 8,000 jobs, which is about 25 per cent of its workforce. It employs more than 2,100 staff in Singapore, though there are no news of any layoffs yet.
11. Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs has been reducing the size of its investment-banking team in Singapore by about 30 per cent compared with the start of last year, according to a report from Bloomberg.
Other than layoffs, there are also companies which have closed down some of their physical outlets, such as California Fitness, home-grown comic chain Comics Connection, home-grown fashion label M)phosis, as well as Evernote Singapore.
What can, and is being done?
Undeniably, this is one of the most discussed topics among Singaporeans now - the gloomy economy outlook. To ensure that you won't be affected by any job cutting measures, perhaps it is a good idea to upgrade your skills to be future ready (yeap that's the buzzword now), and not risk being made redundant in your company.
Earlier this week, at an event organised by Young NTUC in line with the government-initiated SGfuture citizen engagement series, Mr Roger Pua of LinkedIn shed some insights into how he managed to rise to oversee corporate communications of the multi-billion dollar company in Asia Pacific.
He shared that one should always think of job from a demand versus supply point of view. Currently, some of the skill sets in high demand from Singapore employees, as noticed by LinkedIn includes cloud computing, SEO / SEM Marketing, marketing campaign management, algorithm design, user interface design, among others. If you are an expert in any of these skills, you are in luck.
If you don't, it is therefore critical for you to have a change in mindset and actively acquire new skill sets in order to stay relevant in this ever competitive society.
Of course, the government is already actively helping Singaporeans tide through this, most noticeably, through the S$500 in free SkillFuture credits as well as the UTAP (Union Training Assistance Programme) which further funds your course fee up to S$250 per year.
While all of these are in place for you to leverage on, the most important thing is perhaps that we should be active in acquiring new skillsets - be it via freelancing, taking up new courses or actively finding a mentor. As Minister Chan Chun Sing recently puts it, workers who survive the disruption are those with the skills to take on new jobs.