Feeling hunted at work?

Feeling hunted at work?

Picture two men.

John, 40, who has been in the retail industry for 10 years, and David, 38, a plant manager in the manufacturing line.

Both are degree holders, so their future should seem bright.

If you are, particularly if you're a male above the age of 40, then you could have been one of those affected by the layoffs in 2012.

But a survey by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) shows that workers who fit such profiles in 2012 were more likely to be redundant - either retrenched or released early from contracts - than those lower-educated or in other sectors like construction or real estate.

While John and David are fictitious, human resource specialists say they've come across many job seekers like them.

The fact is, seniority isn't a guarantee.

PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians) are at the top of the survey list.

For every 1,000 PMETs, 7.4 were laid off in 2012, up from 5.5 per 1,000 workers in 2011.

Also, of the 11,010 workers who lost their jobs in 2012, 5,960 are PMETs.

Those most vulnerable come from service sectors like wholesale, retail, finance, professional services and communications.

Ms Annie Yap, founder of AYP Associates, says: "It's a natural consequence... First to go are high-salaried employees, particularly those who have not added high value to the company."

Some in manufacturing - a sector where 4,050 lost their jobs last year - prefer to find jobs in other industries, Ms Yap reveals. "They know that manufacturing is fragile and easily affected by economic downturns."

Still, nearly two-thirds of resident PMETs laid off are males.

The MOM study also reveals degree holders "formed a disproportionately higher share of the residents made redundant in 2012 relative to their workforce composition".

So how do you guard against layoffs?

Mr Paul Heng, managing director of NeXTCareer Consulting Group, says: "We have to take charge of our careers and enhance our employability.

"We can do this by continuous learning and upgrading, working the corporate networks."

Fortunately, laid off workers do return to the workforce.

The re-entry rate on average was 55 per cent in 2012, slightly lower than the 57 per cent in 2011.

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