The prospect of the Singapore’s labour market has remained “uneven across sectors” according to the report by Ministry of Manpower with regards to data from the first quarter of 2017.

The number of hires from the Construction and Marine sector will likely remain low, though other sectors like Finance & Insurance, Information & Communications etc. is likely to continue to help in job growth.

On the whole, cyclical weakness in certain sectors continue to persist, and “redundancies and the unemployment rate may remain elevated”.

The thought of retrenchment may terrify some who live from paycheck to paycheck. For others, they may be the sole breadwinner of the family, and losing their job is unthinkable. However, living like an ostrich with our heads buried in the sand will not help.

When a fire breaks out, we can break the glass to get a fire extinguisher or access the button to sound off the alarm; but when we face retrenchment, do we have anything in the glass to save us?

Here, we have three steps that everyone should be actively taking to protect themselves financially in case we face one of the greatest emergency in our careers: retrenchment.

1. Have an emergency fund

Looking for a job takes time, and we need to be prepared to live through an extended period without any income. Having an emergency fund is essential for everyone and should cover over six to twelve months worth of expenditure.

For spendthrifts who are likely to spend everything that they have access to, open a separate account so that you will not touch this fund at all.

2. Learn new skills

If you observe that your skills are becoming obsolete, and robots/computers are going to be more efficient and economical in the long run, don’t panic.

Instead, we should look for upgrading courses to pick up new skills, especially those that can actually improve your current work performance.

Did you know that all Singaporeans aged 25 and above have received $500 worth of credit under the SkillsFuture programme? There are many programmes available that cater to everyone.

For example, a marketing executive might be losing touch with modern technology and would like to know more about online marketing can attend a course like this to learn about online branding.

For those who would like to invest for passive income, understanding the financial health of the company is the first step to do so. Attending a class to learn more about analysing the financial statements could be a great starting point.

3. Reduce your family’s expenditure

If your family is spending close to what you earned each month, reduce the unnecessary expenses.

That yearly exotic vacation? You can do so much more with lesser when you travel to a closer country like Malaysia instead of flying across the continent to Europe. Family bonding is important, but the venue may not be.

You could also cut down on the expenditure on food by eating at home. Perhaps you could even bring a lunch box to work so that you don’t have to spend on eating out and have a healthier meal.


Life is simple; it’s just not easy. We all know that retrenchment might happen to anyone of us since no one can predict what the future may hold.

However, not all of us will be prepared when that happens to us. Though these three steps may not be the easiest to carry out, having a peace of mind knowing that we are ready to face the worst is priceless, and certainly worth the effort.

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