By Dr Gayathri Vasudevan
The world economy is severely disrupted since the US financial crisis in 2008. Even the European Union has suffered, and many European countries are on the brink of bankruptcy. A vast number of conglomerates have reported huge losses with little scope for financial recovery.
The Information Technology sector has also witnessed plenty of uncertainties in recent times. Many renowned industry players have fallen victim to the financial turmoil and are considering laying off a significant number of their workforce. In fact, as per estimates, the layoffs in 2017 are expected to be twice the number of people who were served notice in the previous fiscal year. Several companies that have a strong presence in India are the most affected companies of all. Wipro, Infosys, Tech Mahindra along with international tech entities like Cognizant and Capgemini are also considering giving the pink slip to more than fifty thousand employees.
This raises a question, why lay off employees at all?
1. Cost Cutting
The global economic meltdown has significantly affected business operations. The last decade alone has been a testament to a great number of companies that have filed for bankruptcy. There is little to no scope for the growth of business under prevailing circumstances. In such a scenario, the only sustainable solution for any company is to let go of a segment of its employees. Since the revenue cannot be substantially increased, the only viable option is to reduce cost.
2. Change in Policies
The current US President, Donald Trump, has made serious changes in the international trade and business policies of America. These policies are focused on job creation within the US. This, in turn, has drastically affected third party vendors in other countries, like India and Phillippines, which cater to the needs of companies in the US.
After the US economic crisis, a lot of companies have opted for mergers and buyouts. During such corporate spin-offs, a sizeable number of redundant or excessive employees are booted out of the newly-ormed organization.
3. Other Miscellaneous Factors
Layoffs in corporate giants are a matter of serious concern, and there are many miscellaneous factors which also contribute in shifting the dynamics of the job market. A number of small factors collectively cause a snowball effect. For instance, reduction in business opportunities leading to termination of projects, companies relocating to more cost effective locations, etc. impact the employees in the same way. Technological prowess is also contributing to the threat of mass retrenchment. Advanced research and development in Robotics is a new frontier which could also potentially change the employment landscape as human intervention will become redundant on several fronts.
Coping Up With Layoffs
It is undoubtedly unnerving to realize that you have been terminated at a moment’s notice. Many engineers and other IT professionals have experienced the tragedy of being sacked. For someone used to the high paced environment of a corporate will find it very difficult to adjust to the sudden peace and calm. As professionals, it is very important to stay prepared for such disruptions and continue looking for avenues of personal growth.
A few tips to working professionals:
1. Develop Alternative Skill sets
This is the first thing to do. You need to maintain the strategy ‘improvise, adapt and overcome’ like the Marines. You need to look at the layoff from the point of view of restructuring. This is the most opportune time to realign your career goals. When the ‘dotcom’ era began, many people had to upgrade their skill sets to retain their existing jobs. Likewise, the current business scenario demands a restructuring of the job market and this should be seen as the perfect moment to learn new technologies and upgrade your skill sets. All companies are on the lookout for self-motivated individuals.
2. Look out for different opportunities
It is a major setback to lose the primary source of income; most IT professionals spend a great amount of time in learning advanced skills sets like programming and coding languages. But they lose their advantage every time a new technology enters the market. It is always advisable to keep an eye out for other opportunities and acquire diverse professional skills.
3. Use your own creativity
This is a very rewarding way of dealing with a layoff. Many creative professionals have collaborated to start small startup ventures of their own. The Fintech and Artificial Intelligence sector has registered an unbelievable growth in the last seven years. Many startups have come up with innovative solutions to solve global problems, fueling the cause of social enterprises. In fact, due to the flexible nature of the startups, many of the multinational corporates are also facing competition from them. A lot of entrepreneurs in the startup companies have previously worked with multinationals and have used this experience as a stepping stone in their own startups.
4. Relax and take stock
Although it might sound trivial, this is the best time to kick back and relax. You are free from the daily uphill struggle of a highly stressful work life balance. Now, you have the opportunity to catch up on the long missed family time and personal space. You can rethink your career avenues and alter course to meet your priorities. This will help you to bounce back to the playing field with fresh vigour.
(The author is Co-Founder & CEO, LabourNet Services India Pvt Ltd)