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Redundancy Advice

 

THE SEVEN SIGNS THAT SAY YOU’RE ABOUT TO LOSE YOUR JOB


Posted 17 Dec 2013

What are the chances of losing your job in 2024 and becoming one of the 3,000 people currently being made redundant in the UK every day?

It’s only common sense to learn the early warning signs. Then you’ll at least have a chance to be ready with plans for your future if the fateful call to the boss’ office finally comes.

Relief

According to the experts, your chances of getting the chop in the coming months could depend largely on what you do. Breathe a cautious sigh of relief if you’re in specialist retailing, education, public health, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, food and drink manufacturing and the clothing business - all have comparatively stable job prospects for the coming year.

But if you’re in building, property, financial services, airlines, electronics, private health care, transport and distribution, engineering or insurance bad news might just be round the corner,

So here are some warning signs:

  • Your industry is finding times tough. “Watch the market closely,” management expert David Page of Audrey Page & Associates advises. “Check what the company is saying in the public domain. Outsourcing is also an important trend to watch. If the competition is doing it, your company may start doing the same.
  • “Are bosses telling staff about possible tough times ahead? Pay attention to what you hear on the grapevine regarding the future of the business. There’s usually some truth in office rumours.”
  • A new CEO or senior manager is brought in. “Often a person is brought into an organisation to drive major change,” David Page says. “The old guard don’t relish the idea of sacking people they have worked with for years and are often personal friends with.”
  • Promises of more work haven’t materialised. Mike Fleming, made redundant from a project management consultancy, said that in the months before he was axed: “There was feedback there were a lot of new projects coming up, but it never got beyond rhetoric.
  • “I had a performance review and was told everything was fine and how busy I would be in the coming months. But when I tried to pin the boss down he was evasive. I was made redundant two weeks later - and should have recognised the warning signs.”
  • Vacant jobs aren’t being filled. Marketing coordinator Alison Wood lost the boss of her division and although staff were told he would be replaced, he wasn’t. “The department had no one in charge and we just seemed to be drifting,” she remembers. “Our work was being diverted to other people. “We got 10 minutes warning that we were being pulled into a meeting and the whole department was made redundant. We should have guessed that when the manager wasn’t replaced something like this was on the cards.”
  • Senior management is always around. This, according to Adrianna Loveday, a recruitment firm manager, is often a sign of impending redundancies. “If you are suddenly being scrutinised closely, it could be that you are being considered as surplus to requirements should the firm downsize its staff,” she explains. On the other hand, if you are being sidestepped that could also be a sign of impending redundancy, according to Bristol management strategist Peter McVeigh. He tells of a middle manager who was confronted by his whole sales team walking out of a meeting he hadn’t been told about. “In the workplace knowledge is power,” Peter McVeigh says. “Your company keeping you in the dark is a common way of preparing for life without you.”
  • Losing your responsibilities is another ominous sign of impending redundancy, according to Peter McVeigh: “If your projects have been gradually passed to others, it could well be a sign the boss is making sure your work still gets done once you are out the door.” • Your job title has changed. If you’ve got a new title or job description, have a close look at it. If the move is sideways or down, it could be bad news.

Unwanted

Management may swear it’s not personal, but many downsizings are actually ways to get rid of unwanted employees. As Peter McVeigh says: “Performance is a subjective judgement and managers are more likely to get rid of people they don’t like and keep those they do.
“If you think you could be in for the chop, don’t be in denial, but give some thought to an exit strategy. Remember, you are most attractive to a potential employer when you are still employed.”

According to TUC research, the most likely redundancy victims are workers over 50, workers who have made it clear they would welcome redundancy and won’t become involved in expensive disagreements and recent young unattached recruits whose redundancy handouts will be small. Next likely are those who are unwilling or unable to cope with downsizing and new work practices or are happy to do a deal over voluntary redundancy with minimum fuss.

What are your chances of getting the chop? Answer yes to the majority of these questions and the truth is you could be a potential redundancy victim:

  • Has your boss asked what kind of future you see for yourself in the business?
  • Are you a high paid person in a department that is struggling to break even?
  • Have your job responsibilities been trimmed back to the point where you have time on your hands?
  • Do you no longer get copies of important memos or invitations to strategy meetings?
  • Have you been asked to explain your job to a subordinate?
  • Has the boss stopped asking for your opinion on future plans?

Those most likely to keep their jobs when redundancy threatens are:

  • Workers who know their legal right to suggest how redundancy can be avoided.
  • Workers who are prepared to go part-time or take a wage cut until things improve.
  • Workers who know a company is legally obliged to try to find them alternative work.
  • Workers who are part of more than 20 redundancies - they are legally entitled to at least 30 days’ consultation and companies are often reluctant to spare that amount of time.
  • Skilled workers who are likely to start up in opposition.

Answer yes to the majority of the following questions and you have a good chance of surviving redundancy, according to management consultant Dr Caela Farren:

  • Is your job critical to your organisation’s purpose and future?
  • Does your job closely affect the customer? Are you a vital sales link?
  • Do changes in technology make your job more vital to the success of the business?
  • Would it be difficult to outsource your work?
  • Are you regarded as virtually irreplaceable in the organisation?
  • Are you the person people turn to in a crisis?
  • Have you acquired all the skills needed to keep pace with changes in your industry?

Secure

It seems there are ways of avoiding any risk of redundancy in these troubled times.
According to a Bradford School of Economics study, the people with the most secure jobs are undertakers, Church of England vicars, university academics and debt collectors.

But working as a shelf stacker in a discount supermarket is currently reckoned the safest job of all.

 
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