Singapore companies that are cutting jobs in the economic downturn

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."

2. HSBC

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.

Companies that have cut down their workforce in 2016

  • Tripda

    Rocket Internet's carpooling app, Tripda announced earlier this month that they would be organising a global shutdown of the platform.

  • Autodesk

    Autodesk a design-focused software announced early month that they will be laying off 925 positions, around 10 per cent of their entire workforce.

  • Yahoo

    Recently tech giant Yahoo confirmed that would be shedding 15 per cent of their entire workforce, and its also exploring other "strategic alternatives".

  • Yahoo

    Employees in Yahoo's Singapore office were notified of the layoffs on Feb 18.

  • Rakuten

    e-commerce platform Rakuten announced in Feb 2016 that they would be shutting down all their operations in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

  • Rakuten

    The platform probably faced a significant number of challenges in Malaysia, and they will be withdrawing to focus their efforts in countries like Japan and Taiwan.

  • Bombardier

    Bombardier will be cutting their workforce by about 7000 over the next two years.

  • Bombardier

    They will be cutting 580 jobs from their Belfast operation this year and potentially another 500 the following year.

  • Shell

    Multinational oil and gas company, Royal Dutch Shell operates in more than 70 countries and employ more than 94,000 people worldwide.

  • Shell

    Given the fact that oil prices have dropped by almost 70 per cent in less than two years, the company has already started cutting 10,000 jobs to try and recover from all their losses.

  • Devon Energy

    Devon Energy, a US oil producer, mentioned that 700 people would lose their jobs by the end of the Feb 18, 2016, and this is all in response to the current commodity price environment.

  • Top Glove

    Malaysian company Top Glove is currently the world's largest maker of natural rubber gloves with operations in 27 countries. The company announced that they would cut their foreign labour by 5 per cent due to rising costs and increasing automation.

  • Barclays

    Some 100 Barclays employees in Singapore were axed on Jan 21 in a drastic cost-cutting exercise which saw the bank exit multiple businesses across Asia.

  • 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.

  • Standard Chartered

    Its previous workforce globally was at 86,000, and currently employs about 7,000 staff in Singapore.

  • HSBC

    HSBC has announced that they will be freezing salaries and freezing hiring in 2016 globally in the battle to cut costs, affecting 3,000 Singapore employees.

  • Resorts World Sentosa

    According to a report on Straits Times, more than 30 employees at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) have been laid off earlier in February.

  • Resorts World Sentosa

    However, the lay offs was due to overstaffing and it is not an isolated case. There are currently about 12,000 people working at Resorts World Sentosa.

  • Maersk

    Maersk Line, one of the world's top container shipping companies, recently merged its Singapore and Hong Kong regional offices. Last November, it also shared new plans to reduce its network capacity and announced that it will be cutting 4,000 jobs.

  • STMicroelectronics

    STMicroelectronics will cut about 1,400 jobs and close its loss-making set-top box business, including 670 in Asia.

  • 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.

  • Credit Suisse

    Credit Suisse announced 4,000 job cuts globally, although no layoffs are expected in the Asia-Pacific region yet.

  • 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 4 years, and last year laid off "hundreds" in Singapore.

3. RWS

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.

4. Rakuten

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.

5. Maersk

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.

5 things Singaporeans should do in the economic slowdown

  • The gloomy outlook in 2016 is expected to result in higher retrenchment figures, a slowdown in employment and horrible news for a whole bunch of industries.
  • NTUC has spoken: They predict that in the first quarter of 2016, 234 workers in unionised companies could be retrenched, a 31 per cent increase from the first quarter of 2015.
  • No matter how useful you think you are to your company, there's a chance your boss thinks of you, yes you, as an unnecessary cost-especially if he can just dump all your work on the guy in the next cubicle.
  • Job hopping is nothing new in Singapore, and while the employment market is still pretty robust, don't quit without another job lined up unless you're okay with the fact that it's probably going to be harder to find a new one than it was last year.
  • Employers are going to find it harder to justify hiring a new guy, so you definitely don't want to be job hunting desperately at that time.
  • If you're a business owner and haven't bothered correcting certain inefficiencies, this is the time to do it, as you could be in for some tough times.
  • While businesses across the board are likely to feel the pinch, if you're in particularly vulnerable industries like tourism and manufacturing, now is the time to see if there are more efficient, more streamlined and cheaper ways to do what you do.
  • Even if you don't find yourself unceremoniously retrenched, if your company is badly affected you can expect a smaller (or even no) bonus, as many people did during the 2008 recession, or even a pay cut.
  • This is not exactly the best time to start a designer bag collection or plan a lavish shopping trip to the factory outlets in California.
  • Everyone's investment mix is different, but if you're a stock investor who buys and holds for the long-term, this may be a good year to monitor stock prices more closely.
  • At this point, many stocks are quite heavily undervalued, and property prices are still on the decline. It's anyone guess when they'll rebound, but for now, investors should pay attention.

7. Barclays

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.

6 items S'poreans who want to save money shouldn't buy in S'pore

  • Many people think it's too "leceh" to drive across the Causeway to buy groceries. But it's probably because they don't know exactly how much money you can save by buying your food and toiletries in Johor Bahru.
  • A few years ago, you could save about 30 per cent on your groceries by buying in JB.
  • Now that the Malaysian Ringgit is lower than ever vis a vis the Singapore dollar, you can save much more, in many cases up to 50 per cent.
  • Unless you're talking about those awful assessment books for kids at Popular Bookstore, most books in Singapore have to be imported.
  • And they're not cheap-you can usually expect to pay about $15 to $20 for a paperback novel.
  • If you are ordering a fairly large shipment and don't mind second hand items, consider buying your books from Amazon's second hand section and then shipping them back using a service like Borderlinx or vPost.
  • For some reason, vitamins and dietary supplements are super expensive in Singapore. If you've ever walked into GNC, the prices are enough to give you a stroke.
  • If you're happy go buy all your furniture from Ikea, more power to you. But if you're the house-proud type who's willing to spend thousands of dollars on a sofa, consider buying your furniture and homeware in Bali or Thailand.
  • It's not just owning a car that's expensive in Singapore. It's also darned difficult to get your car serviced without being ripped off-many mechanics here are more concerned about getting you to replace parts than actually fixing your vehicle's problems.
  • If you know where to go, car and bike servicing in Malaysia can cost almost half the price. Although there are hundreds of popular recommendations, it's best to go with a friend who's familiar with a workshop in JB to be safe.
  • If you work in the sort of place where you actually have to show up looking decent, adding a few crisp tailored shirts or a slick suit to your wardrobe can make you look a bit more presentable.
  • But tailors in Singapore are expensive-you can usually expect to pay at least $1,000 for decent tailored suit.
  • Some people prefer Hoi An in Vietnam or even Shanghai, but Bangkok is the cheapest and easiest place to fly to and the destination Singaporeans are the most familiar with.

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