On 11 August 2020, it was announced that the Singapore economy contracted by 13.2 per cent on a year-on-year basis in the April to June quarter, worse than the 12.6 per cent decline seen in the Government’s advance estimate and a sharp deterioration from the 0.3 per cent contraction in the previous quarter. Retrenchments will rise – inevitably – as the economies of the world are disrupted.
Until a vaccine for Covid-19 is found, we can assume that the economy will take a long while to recover and many industries will still find themselves badly hit by this crisis.
NTUC Sec-Gen Ng Chee Meng said that NTUC is working with companies to preserve jobs by first exploring all cost-cutting options.
When retrenchment is unavoidable, the top priority is to ensure that companies treat workers fairly and with dignity, according to the Fair Retrenchment Framework that NTUC proposed in July, said Mr Ng.
The framework includes protecting the Singaporean core of the workforce.
In such uncertain times, what can you do if you are one of those retrenched?
1. Look for a New Job
While many who face retrenchment will naturally be hard-pressed to get a job, there are things you can do to improve your chances of finding one.
Update your resume and LinkedIn profile
Updating your resume and LinkedIn profile is probably the first practical step to take to ensure that employers and recruiters can accurately review relevant skillsets that you may have.
Updating your career experience helps to give you an edge for job positions available and better matches you to an appropriate role.
Write specific CVs for specific roles
This is a point that seems to be overlooked by many when they choose to use a generic or template CV for every single role applied. Take time to understand the Job Description of each role that you apply for, and choose to highlight the skills that are especially relevant to the role in your CV. Remember, the CV tells the recruiter why they should even invite you down for the interview in the first place and it helps to make every word count.
Search for job vacancies
Even though it may be effective to use popular job search sites like jobscentral, jobstreet and glassdoor consider visiting Workforce Singapore (WSG) as well. The site provides valuable resources such as mid-career pathway programmes, workshops and career guidance, on top of the usual job openings and listings. This opens up more opportunities that value-adds to the job searching journey.
Look out for upcoming job fairs
NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) and WSG have ramped up career fairs during these unprecedented times.
If you would like the opportunity to directly meet up with prospective employers, you can find more details by visiting their events page.
Get onboard with the offerings from SGUnited Jobs and Skills initiative
Announced in May during the fourth Budget, the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package is a S$2 billion programme aimed at creating 100,000 job, attachment and training openings. These are ‘committed’ job and training opportunities that you definitely shouldn’t miss out on.
2. Get Financial Assistance
Living from paycheque to paycheque?
If you are facing financial difficulties, there are several avenues you can reach out to:
NTUC Care Fund (COVID-19)
NTUC is providing a one-off cash relief of up to $300 to eligible union members who are facing hardship due to COVID-19, helping them tide over daily necessities during this challenging period.
Self-Employed Persons (SEPs) Income Relief Scheme (SIRS)
SIRS helps Singaporean SEPs with less means tide over this period of extraordinary economic uncertainty.
COVID-19 Support Grant (CSG)
Meant for Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents who are involuntarily unemployed due to retrenchment or contract termination; involuntarily placed on no-pay leave (NPL) for at least three consecutive months; or presently experiencing a reduced monthly salary of at least 30 per cent as a result of the economic impact of COVID-19.
Approach Family Service Centre (FSC) or ComCare
FSCs are community-based to provide help and support to individuals and families in need. In contrast, ComCare supports persons and families who need temporary help as they work towards self-reliance.
3. Attend training and re-skilling
As technology evolves and skillsets change, it is always wise to keep yourself up to date with relevant skills.
You can consider getting help or searching for courses through:
Union Training Assistance Programme (UTAP)
UTAP is a training benefit for NTUC members to defray their cost of training.
This benefit is to encourage more NTUC members to go for skills upgrading.
SGUnited Skills (SGUS)
The SGUnited Skills programme is a full-time training programme ranging from six to 12 months.
The programme comprises certifiable courses delivered by Continuing Education and Training (CET) Centres, including Institutes of Higher Learning.
4. Seek Career Guidance
If you need any help from assessing your career path to arranging for a one-to-one session with a career coach, you can seek advice at: e2i’s Meet-A-Coach
Career Pit Stop
Take a career health check by visiting this site.
Developed by e2i, Career Pit Stop allows you to be aware of your strength and weakness in areas such as performance, influence, network and clarity.
e2i’s Employability Workshops
be it skills upgrading or job matching, e2i’s employability workshops can help meet your career goals.