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Stock up during a job cut

Job cuts are here to stay, but here’s how employees can beef up for the inevitable

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Stock up during a job cut
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Employers across the globe are indulging in nipping their headcounts. HP has spoken of 5,000 job cuts by FY2019 as part of their restructuring plan. Amazon has talked of cutting “hundreds” of employees at their Seattle headquarters. While IBM has plans of downsizing their headcount by 30%. The IT industry in India, one of the most lucrative employers had laid off over 56, 000 employees in 2017, across companies like Infosys, TCS, Tech Mahindra, etc.

Experts say layoffs are today a part and parcel of new-age jobs and the employment market. “Employees cannot expect 100% job security unless they work for the government sector. Thus what is crucial at this point is to chalk out a plan B, instead of pondering over job insecurity,” say experts.

Friction in international markets and increased digitization and automation rendering several jobs redundant are compelling companies to downsize. “Employees need to prepare for layoffs by securing their own futures,” says Gayathri Vasudevan, co-founder and CEO, LabourNet Services India.

This can be done by adopting multiple approaches. Firstly, employees should embrace a mindset of “up-skilling, reskilling and training themselves continuously”, says Vasudevan.

The demand for jobs will always be for the “right-skilled employee”, says Suchita Dutta, executive director, Indian Staffing Federation. “If the individual ensures to keep abreast of the skills required for future, they will always find the right employment to suit their profile. People face problems when they stop upskilling themselves.”

According to Vineet Chaturvedi, co-founder of online training provider Edureka, the most coveted tech skills that were relevant earlier are now considered obsolete, and the one in demand today may not be relevant five years later. “The only way professionals can keep up with this changing skill landscape is to re-skill fast, not just in one right technology, but in multiple ‘in-demand’ technologies and skills. Professionals need to up-skill 15-20 times in their career to create a long-term and stable career path.”

Experts say while Qlikview, Web development, Java are out, new technologies like IoT, artificial intelligence, blockchain, robotic process automation, cloud computing and DevOps and data science are in vogue presently.

Moreover, employees should be agile and adapt themselves to the changing organisational requirements and structures, feels Vasudevan. She says a statistician knowing software solutions needs to perhaps leverage his/her skill-sets to become a data analyst, and thereby remain compatible with the fast-evolving job landscape. “Let’s say a call centre agent who is good in communication might become redundant due to automation. This person can use this very skill (communication) and seek avenues in the hospitality industry that thrives on good communication skills, provided the individual has acquired newer skills in hotel management. “Employability” and not “employment” should become the focus area for professionals,” says Vasudevan. 

Besides re-skilling and upskilling, candidates should build upon their savings for a rainy day. Experts advise a consistent saving plan of reserving aside at least 20-25% of the net pay every month, in order to have an adequate backup. “Fixed deposits, mutual funds, PPF and other investments are always welcome. But liquidity is also essential,” say experts.

Moreover, building on contacts and networking to remain attuned to new job openings is another advice job experts dole out. Other than updating profiles on job platforms, candidates should attend job and HR conferences to build onto their contacts. Says Dutta, “Candidates should be in tune with online job portals and networking platforms. They should also remain in touch with their mentors, senior colleagues to get guidance at the right time.”

WHEN IT’S TIME TO HIBERNATE

  • 20-25% 
    Of the net pay experts advise to reserve aside every month as an adequate backup
     
  • Don’t expect 100% job security unless you work for the government sector
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