As a finance recruiter in the commercial market, I’m constantly hearing the same story over and over – great candidates are being laid off due to restructuring and outsourcing.
Cost cutting is happening in every single organisation – no matter how they do it. Labour costs are one of the easiest costs to reduce, and since Singapore has higher labour costs compared to our South East Asian neighbours, many offices are being shifted out of Singapore and into lower labour cost countries.
To be honest, I am no fortune teller and cannot predict when the job economy will pick up again, however here are some tips to help you stay relevant and ensure that you can make yourself more difficult to replace (But let’s face it – nobody is irreplaceable!).
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Most people only focus on depth of experience – but why not look at expanding your breadth too? Specialisation in one specific skill is great but in a world where companies are coming up with more innovative ways to streamline processes in a cost effective manner, read: Shared Service Centres, more finance professionals feel their job security is threatened. In reality, “job security” does not exist anymore. Even organisations that rarely lay people off go through constant restructuring – a word many people frown upon, however, it is necessary not just for continued growth but also to keep up with the market’s changing demands. Being skilled in more than one area gives you the flexibility of moving across different teams, thus increasing your breadth of experience.
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Versatility is key. Sticking to what you know may be comfortable, but being comfortable at work is a dangerous state to be in. If you can think of a more efficient way to improve a certain process at work, ie. such as automating reports on your ERP system, propose it to your boss! Many senior level positions nowadays require the incumbent to help with process improvements. Taking the initiative to go above and beyond your main responsibilities will make you stand out amongst your peers.
It is often difficult to sell yourself to a prospective employer – most people hardly read cover letters, and approaching a company you wish to work with may sometimes give off the wrong impression. As a specialist finance recruiter, I constantly recommend to my clients stellar candidates in the market who may not necessarily be actively on the search for a new position. Partnering with a recruiter allows you to get the awkward conversations out of the way – reasons for leaving, negotiation of salary, etc, so that you can focus on selling your experience and personality instead.
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