Channel News Asia reported earlier this month (10 Mar) that many of the tech workers who were retrenched earlier in Singapore, are still struggling to find jobs.
Tech firms in Singapore laid off 1,270 workers from July to mid-November 2022, and the job cuts have continued into 2023. Tech companies like Facebook parent Meta, Twitter, Microsoft and Google have all been axing staff.
“Months after being laid off, many affected workers in Singapore are still struggling to gain employment,” CNA reported.
A Chinese female who was retrenched by Meta applied for 20 to 30 positions similar to her last recruiting role with no results. That is to say, she was working in the HR department of Meta previously.
She moved to Singapore from China on an employment pass in mid-last year. After she was retrenched in December, she furiously looked for job openings in Singapore. She has since had calls with ten potential employers, and interviews with half as many, but still ended up without offers.
The China national thought that the salary requirement of at least $5,000 for an employment pass (EP) was the main problem. “Most of the companies, they talk to me and they say they can (offer me a job). But … in the end, they may just prefer locals,” she said.
She finally decided to return home after a fruitless search. Back at home, she quickly got a job also in the HR department but with a lower salary when converted to SGD.
CNA also interviewed another foreign talent who was retrenched from Meta. The person moved to Singapore from India in July last year. He worked in Meta’s payments engineering team but was also retrenched in December.
Out of the 30 over roles he has since applied for software engineering roles, he received only two job offers in early February. This was despite more than 15 follow-up calls and interviews with potential employers.
“It was competitive. For four to five companies I went (for interviews) till the last round and got rejected, so the market is tough at the moment,” he said.
“It’s quite stressful, I had to sit down in my bedroom for the whole day, go for a walk in the evening. Weekends and weekdays are the same to me.”
He accepted one of the two offers before flying back to see his family first. The Manpower Ministry finally approved his EP and he was happy. But 3 days before flying back to Singapore to start work, the company abruptly revoked the job offer as it had undergone a reorganisation and no longer had the budget to hire new staff.
Desperate, he hastily returned to Singapore to restart the “painful process” of sending out applications. As he is on a social visit pass, he will only have one more month to look for jobs. He told CNA that if he can’t get a job in Singapore this time, he will call it quits and return home.
Meanwhile, CNA also interviewed another retrenched Meta staff member, a Singaporean. She told CNA that she has yet to receive any offers since beginning her job search in December.
“I sent out a handful of applications for roles which were specific to my skill sets and each full loop of interviews can be anything from three to six rounds,” said the Singaporean, who used to work in Meta’s product team.
“I’ve yet to receive any job offers, as the recruiting cycle takes a much longer time now as compared to my previous experience (job-hunting during the pandemic).”
“With the long recruiting cycle, it can also be tough for those laid off to keep themselves mentally resilient,” she said. “I’m coping financially for now by cutting back on expenses, but it’s honestly hard to tell when the next role might come along.”
She added that she might have to look for freelancing work or switch to another industry should things fail to pan out, while foreigners are also looking for jobs in Singapore.