Restructuring leads to higher incidence of layoffs in 2012

    Kerry Consulting

    The Business Times has recently interviewed Kerry Consulting’s general manager, Pan Zaixian, on his views regarding the redundancy incident caused by economic restructuring in 2012.

    Economic restructuring and slower growth has taken a heavier toll on Singapore workers, especially those in the services sector, and professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) who made up more than half of all layoffs last year.

    More workers were made redundant – either retrenched or released early from contracts – last year as layoffs also grew a little more widespread. For every 1,000 employees, 5.8 were laid off, up from 5.5 in 1,000 in 2011. PMETs were more vulnerable than the average worker. For every 1,000 PMETs, 7.4 were laid off in 2012, up from 5.5 per 1,000 workers in 2011. But, the incidence of redundancy remained at the lower end of the range for non-recession years and below the recession high of 14 in 1,000 workers and 15 in 1,000 PMETs laid off in 2009, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) report yesterday said.

    Reflecting the “growing vulnerability of mid-level white-collar workers due to globalisation and technological innovations, which had previously impacted mainly blue-collar manufacturing workers”, the incidence of PMET layoffs (7.4 in 1,000) was also above that for production and related workers (5.2 in 1,000) and clerical, sales and services workers (2.5 in 1,000)

    Kerry Consulting general manager Pan Zaixian expects the layoff trend to continue into this year. Financial services was the sector with the second-largest jump in layoffs last year – 60.7 per cent. Since the fourth quarter of 2012 to date, a number of global banks have announced redundancies and they are only starting to take effect in the earlier part of 2013.Singapore, as a global services centre for many banks, is also the location they turn too when they need to restructure or reduce costs.

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