PETALING JAYA: More than 43,000 workers in Malaysia lost their jobs since last year but all is not lost - Malaysians can still expect to do well.
Even those in their late 30s and early 40s - the age group most affected - can go on to better things after being retrenched.
The key is to remain "industry relevant", say global professional recruitment firms.
Randstad Malaysia country director Ryan Carroll pointed out that 74 per cent of employees surveyed expect to find a comparable job within six months.
Retrenchment is not the end of one's career, according to Robert Walters Malaysia country manager Sally Raj while Manpower Malaysia country manager Sam Haggag noted that there were many opportunities in the market.
Workers, however, must be able to identify the skills they have instead of letting themselves be defined by their previous roles.
Haggag said this was a challenge for many retrenched workers as being laid off had an emotional effect on most of them.
Carroll said the number of employees worried about their job security rose from 6 per cent to 13 per cent, adding that it was across all ages.
He advised workers to use the Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) to up-skill themselves in the right area before they start hunting for a new role.
"Can you work with incoming technological developments? Do you have experience in an area which is gaining momentum?
"These are questions candidates must ask themselves when considering VSS," he said.
Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said it was not surprising that those in senior positions were let go as the savings from wage costs would be much higher.
He said bosses would have a tougher time this year as the cost of doing business in a sluggish economy, was expected to rise.
On April 11, its chief executive Datuk C.M. Vignaesvaran told The Star that the Human Resources Development Fund, which collected monthly levies from employers, had kicked off a programme to retrain retrenched workers with the unused portion of their contributions which is expected to reach RM300mil (S$104 million).
There will be six major programmes under this pilot project that includes the setting up of an outplacement centre for retrenched workers, plus training and replacing foreign workers with Malaysians.
Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr Richard Riot had told Parliament that more than 38,000 workers were retrenched last year - the highest number since 2010.