Typically defined as the likelihood (or unlikelihood!) that you’ll keep your job, job security depends on several factors, such the state of the economy as well as the financial stability and reliability of the company you’re working at.
So, when the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent fallout initiated a rise in unemployment rates from 4.38% in 2020 from 4.11% in 2019 in Singapore, the topic of job security was brought into the spotlight. But while job security’s generally understood to be vital to employment (71.5% of graduates stated in the annual Singapore 100 Leading Graduate Employers Survey 2021 conducted by GTI Media Singapore that job security was an important factor when choosing an employer), why is it important?
It’s difficult to work at your best and most productive if you’re constantly stressed out by the idea that you might suddenly lose your job (through no fault of your own, at times) – especially when finding new employment is tougher than usual. The potential loss of a steady income may also affect your mental health as you start saving up for a rainy day at the expense of social activities.
One of the solutions to this is to recognise the signs when your job security is at risk, and either boost your hold on your job by continuously upskilling, or start looking for another gig before the axe falls and you’re left hanging without a job. Here are some signs you can look for, and what you can do to mitigate your circumstances and come out standing!
Your company got acquired or there’s a merger
Tough market conditions is one of the bigger impetuses for mergers and acquisitions between companies and competitors. When this happens and companies start consolidating staff, layoffs are usually on the horizon – and usually start with employees whose skills and responsibilities overlap with others.
With the right mindset and strategy, though, this event can be turned into an opportunity. Consider showing off how adaptable you are, or make yourself integral to the new teams that will no doubt be introduced.
Other companies in your industry are downsizing
If you see peers in similar roles or related industries getting retrenched as companies restructure in the wake of budget cuts, it could be a sign that your job security is moving to shakier ground. Even established powerhouses may lose market value and lay off employees as they attempt to navigate the market fluctuations.
This highlights how important a multi-faceted and transferable skill set is. Because they can be used in many aspects of life and can be used in many areas of work, they’ll allow you to move to more stable industries as you search for security and stability.
There’s a new employee…who has the exact same skill set you do
Bringing on a person who has a similar skill set as you do isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if your workload is heavy and you’ve informed management that you’re likely headed towards a burnout. But if they’re taking entire projects off your hands rather than sharing the load, your job security could be under threat.
To mitigate this, don’t remain in silos – it’s a dangerous place to be in this time of technological advancement and change, anyway. Instead, adopt a mindset of lifelong learning, and never pass up a chance to pick up skills that will keep you at the very forefront of your role.
You’ve gotten multiple negative performance appraisals
One bad appraisal’s hardly anything to quake over, but if you’ve gotten a few in a row, it may be a sign that your job security has gotten significantly lower. If you’re making the same mistakes over and over again, employers may take this as a sign that you’re either not bothered to fix them, or you’re looking to move on.
So, take your negative performance review and assess the reasons behind it. If the reasons given for your appraisal are valid, look to draw up a plan you can use to improve your performance. If you need advice, don’t be afraid to approach your supervisor, senior or manager for help!
Losing job security is unfortunately a reality of working life. But just because it’s part of life doesn’t mean that you’re completely powerless. Instead, take a deep breath and do what you can to move back to stable ground. If all else fails, update your resume, brush up on your interview skills and keep moving forward!