Perhaps the core question ought to be if the manufacturing industry is something that Singapore should continue to focus on? Especially when we face such keen competition from our neighbors.
As a Gen Y, (born in the 80's y'all!) I think we are brought up with 2 core ideas about joining the workforce.
1. That we ought to pursue our dreams and aspirations (I wouldn't want to go into deep debate into this.)
2. That loyalty is for suckers these days. All that talks is money and ability to contribute. (I have seen my dad getting retrenched, despite having been with the organization all his life. My friends, technically, got retrenched at 25. Unlike my dad, who took it fairly negatively, my peers and I were so amused at our predicament!)
So I am happy to hear that a member of the training / human resource community is able to see it from the perspective you mentioned, since such behavior is in opposition to your interests as a trainer / human resource manager.
Even if he prefers to stay within the technical realm, I would not think a move into energy, facilities management or even the air-conditioner micro-sector to be too daunting. Unfortunately, some people lack the courage, others lack the connection. However, I think the attitude and drive to succeed is what will divide the mediocre and the best.
Sure, we all have to take some risks in life. A roof over the head is usually a 30-year liability, and no one can be sure what will happen over the 30 years. However, if you find yourself practically spending almost everything you are earning, you would be in serious trouble.
A small war chest to ensure that your liabilities are covered for at least the next 6 months is very sensible - 6 months will provide one with sufficient time to find a new job, develop new skills, build new relationships. Scale down your expenditure a little, and you may even find yourself surviving well into the 9th month.
My personal philosophy is to make myself obsolete as quickly as possible. Spend the first 1/3 of your job learning and perfecting your role. Learn what adds value, learn what doesn't. Spend the next 1/3 of your job doing, not only the perfect job, but also learn about the next role, be it an upstream role, or an adjacent role. Learn to see from your boss's perspective. What do they see, what do they want? You would be amazed at how different the superior and his subordinate may think of the same situation. Spend the last 1/3 of your job grooming a successor, because someone has to take over your role before you can move on. Through the last 1/3, you would learn more about mentoring, teaching, coaching and grooming. These skills are important as you move on to your next role.
My personal belief: no one owes you a living nor a job.
U got to think for yourself. Since no one owes you a job, u better think of ways to make yourself employable and keep up with times. Upgrade, learn and network with more ppl.
The very person who got entrench 4 times in same electronic industry within 10 years, is obviously not upgrading and not networking with more ppl.
He keep going around in a circle. Keep going back to the old circle of friends, same industry, and getting into same problem of jobless.
Things are not as easy as it seem.
Many companies don't want to hire people without relevant experiences.
If they do hire people with relevant experiences, you are expect to get a very very very steep pay cut from your previous salary.
Some people with families cannot accept such a huge pay cut so they went back to the same industry where they can get a pay increment rather than a pay cut.
Beside, most of their network are friends who studied together in school, who are also in the same industry. How do you expect them to venture out of their own industry ?
I eats, shoots & leaves
I'd agree to a certain extent - volunteering, people of the same interest, hobbies, religion, etc.
And to qualify what I mean to a certain extent, don't put a motive behind it; don't expect to get anything out of it except as an opportunity to learn new things, different viewpoints, new ways of doing things, grow ideas, knowledge beyond your zone, how others live and lead their lives, influence others in a positive way and accept in reciprocation because somehow someday perhaps even in the most insignificant way, you could have contributed to making the world a slightly better place than if you didn't.
Okay I'll step off my soapbox now
Endure. In enduring grow strong.
I am sure those who have live through the early 60+ racial riot, 70+ electronic crisis, 80* energy crisis, 90 Eastern Asian Financial crisis, 2009-European Sovereign Debt Crisis, SAR, etc. know very well dream and survival are just 2 separate things. As a small country are able to sustain till today despite all these is because we stick together during the difficult times. Employees are not just an unit but part of the big family.
When you have a family to feed and the economy is uncertain, not everyone is able to switch job or look for something that interest them. All he want is to ensure there will be food on the table for the next meal. Ideally, you shouldn't be spending every dollar you earned but about 35 - 40 % of what you earn put into saving. This is just nice talk for those that have to take on 2 jobs to survive. We must remember that while many are looking at holidays and buying newer DSLR, there are some looking forward for some overtime job during their off days.
Additional paper qualifications will definitely help especially here in Singapore. We are an academically based society. It is only until 2000+ that distance learning and the opening up of our local educational system, allow those falling behind to pick up the badly required papers. Not all are equipped with the academic talent. If everyone is a PHD holder, who will be the blue collar workers?
1. I am tertiary educated, but I am currently working in a blue collar industry - I handled over 300 blue collared employees at one point, and I understand their predicament. However, I have also noticed some stars, young individuals who are not terribly educated, but have a dedicated plan to escape the rat race. Then, there are also the mediocre folks who "do the right thing", but starting a family, working hard to pay the bills, almost to the point of exhaustion. Well, we each choose our own lives, but we cannot be blaming everyone else when life deals us a bad hand.
2. If there are people still looking for a job, I am most happy to assist you in getting a role in my organization. If the applicant is looking for a new role to match his/her former pay, I'd think that the applicant will be sorely disappointed. If he/she adopts a positive spirit, I have many success stories where our entry level blue collared employees work their way to management ranks. And no, it didn't take 10-20 years to get there. Much sooner.
3. As mentioned by another CSer, you make your own difference to your life. If you continue to take it negatively, assume the the job is yours and blame everyone else when the music has ended, then life is likely to get bitter.
But if you live life expecting to get retrenched, and make positive steps to anticipate and remedy the situation, then the world would be a happier place.
I'd know - my dad got retrenched, and I was unemployed for a short while. My dad was quite affected, but family support and smart financial planning (we were all debt free a long while ago), made sure that we are still ok. Just to let you know, my dad is also a blue collared worker and he hasn't gone on a holiday for decades and the last big ticket item he bought was a LCD TV 5 years ago. And nothing else.
I tided through my unemployment after my foray into finance with my earnings I made while studying in university. My war chest was small, but it was enough to handle my loans and allowed me to live financially independent. And oh, I usually did at least 2 jobs back when I was a student. At one point, even 3. But the difference is, I take the higher paying ones. :-)
Last edited by Blur Shadow; 29th December 2013 at 08:57 AM.
What you have shared is not wrong. This is only possible for those presently not struggling to find ends meet and our economy is still healthy. They would be glad that they know there are people like you who is able to give support.
That technician that got retrenched didn't know he would be retrenched too. Lucky for him, our economy is still healthy. He is Likely to find a new job soon, I sincerely hope so. The worst situation is when such thing happen, it is during recession time. Will that job still be available for him?
In good times, we all enjoy the fruits and in bad times, we need to take care of those who have fallen. There must be a system to provide that cushion. I am not advocating those incentives given out by the EU.
More protections for the local workers is needed. Not to spoilt them but to ensure they have a peace of mind to think further. Like you said, plan ahead. If they are always worrying of their next meal, there will be no planning.
I don't sound like a standard government answer because retrenchment happens in every country. US has the most recent crisis and still struggling today. And u go check what the jobless Americans are doing. Don't take it from me. Go see how a jobless guy can enter in a new industry.
I can tell u. When u are jobless, like the technician, u better get yr butt moving around in new circles of friends. There are 101 ways of doing it. Our ITE, polys and other training centres have 101 courses for technical skills and non technical skills. And all of them have WDA or some schemes for jobless ppl to pay just 5% fee.
The main benefit of going to such courses is to meet new friends. Every sort of ppl attend such courses, from workers to big bosses. U think what kind of potential opportunities for a jobless person to land a new job through this networking? Sometimes there may be business opportunities to form partnerships
Who say there is no way to make new friends?
U know why there so many ppl taking MBAs? This is not for the stupid paper. MBA courses are for networking. Ppl get into the program, to know other classmates who may be bosses or higher levels in same or totally different industries. And these are the ppl who can open doors for u.
Stop being so myopic thinking. There are many ways to network.
Be a volunteer in grassroots, charities, and any other organisations where u can meet more ppl
Networking doesn't really help when your friends in other industries are also jobless like you.
Making career switch is not that simple. Companies in SG look at your certs and experiences.
Networking alone will not get you very far.
Your friends cannot get you in the door if you don't have the certs.
Some times, having the right certs also doesn't help you.
Companies don't like to spent money on training.
No relevant experiences mean your resume is in the trash as soon as it reach the table of the HR department.
Many people in SG end up as taxi drivers although they have Engineering certs because many companies don't want them.
Speaking from my personal experience, my 1st job is in the HD industry in 1997.
I went to studied for an IT degree when I saw the manufacturing industry in SG is sinking after 1997 crisis.
I was fortunate to get a job as a programmer while studying for my degree ( 1 year contract renewable )
but I have to accept a steep pay cut.
When I finally got my degree, there was the SARs crisis and Sg have another recession.
It is only after 4 years as contract programmer that I got another permanent job in another company as programmer.
My successful case is mainly due to the fact that I am single and I don't have any loans to pay.
Friends of mine, who are still in the HD industry are not so lucky.
They have got married and have housing loan to pay.
Steep pay cut is difficult to accept when you have such a large debt.
With family commitment, addition free time to get another certs is also difficult.
Therefore, you don't make it sound like making career switch is a piece of cake.
I eats, shoots & leaves
It's not a piece of cake (and i don't think donut88 meant it that way too)
But if people only keep giving excuses like "it's not easy", "not a 100% success rate" "it might not happen" or "from my experience" and the like, and not even bother to give it a shot or just let yourself languish in that scenario.... Then 100% nothing will happen in your favor
Your new friends must be in a position ( Managing Director ) where he can influence the decision of hiring new staff.
Your new company must be willing to accept staff with no relevant experience and lousy certs (Not from top university).
Unfortunately, not everyone have that kind of opportunity.
That is why you see many people went to drive taxi.
I eats, shoots & leaves