The latest labor market report released by Ministry of Manpower is discouraging for many job-seekers. Employment growth has slowed down and unemployment and redundancies have risen in the second quarter of 2016. In this uncertain market condition, it may not be wise to switch career or even quit without a job. However, regardless the case, you do not leave your financial destiny in the hands of your employer.
In today’s context, it is not realistic for Singapore employees to trust that they will never be made redundant. The rapid changes in technology inevitably led to unexpected transformation in various industries, resulting in massive restructuring in our economy. This means that many jobs have become obsoleted and when affected employees are laid off, their positions disappeared as well.
Thus, if you are not careful, you may find yourself in the frightening prospect of being retrenched. Even in the civil service sector, which is well-known in Singapore for being an iron-rice bowl employer, contract jobs have become prevalent. Being a contract worker, you may be let go after your employment contract expired. Even if you are a permanent staff working in the civil service, it does not mean that your career longevity is guaranteed. If you made any mistakes, especially when money is concerned, you may be asked to resign.
In this new economy, knowledge is key to your financial destiny. The market is ever evolving because of changing demands. So what you learned in your college or university may not be relevant to the industry any more. You need to re-invent yourself to stay more relevant and marketable to employers. Picking up new skills in emerging industries like cyber-security and green technology is one way of staying ahead of the competition.
In the past, if you have a post-graduate degree, you are likely to be eligible for management posts which comes along with higher salaries. Now the game has changed. With so many local and foreign post-graduates flooding the market, your post-graduate degree will not make much difference. In fact, for the employers, they would often go for the most value-for-money candidates – most qualified applicants asking for the competitive salaries.
Most Singaporeans feel angry with this situation and many vented their frustrations at government policies in the social media. They felt that the policies are impotent in addressing this social issue. What many don’t realize is that this is a trend that is taking place in global cities, and not specifically Singapore. Therefore, Singaporeans should wake up to the idea that if they cannot change the situation, they can certainly change their mindsets.
Singaporeans must accept the reality that they may be retrenched at any point of time and therefore must make the commitments to be prepared for it. On this point, I am not asking you to resign immediately and become an entrepreneur. The matter of fact is that most entrepreneurs are doomed to fail because not all of us are cut out to do business. What I am suggesting is that you take concrete actions to safeguard your financial destiny.
If you have decided that you don’t have the calibre to be an entrepreneur, then you need to categorize your income sources into active and passive baskets. For the active income, you must strive to achieve career longevity. To do so, start gaining transferable skills that can make you look versatile to employers and go for courses that build up your competence in other fields. In today’s environment, it is common to have second, third or even more career changes. At the end of the day, you should always pledge your alliance to your job craft and not your employer. Knowledge is king.
To establish passive income streams, you must learn how to invest through taking calculated risks. It is not going to be easy and along the way, you will make mistakes. But you learn from failures. The more you fail, the closer you are to your investment goals. The bottom-line is to make money, you must take risks. The biggest risk in your financial destiny is not taking any risks at all.
SG Wealth Builder engages Singaporeans on topics related to personal finance, entrepreneurship and investments, such as shares and real estate.