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Worried after the massive Meta, Amazon, Twitter layoffs? Here’s how to gauge if job cuts are impending

CNBCTV18 logo CNBCTV18 22-03-2023 Abhishek Jha

Amazon has announced it would lay off another 9,000 employees with which it will have eliminated 27,000 positions in recent months or 9 percent of its roughly 300,000-strong corporate workforce. Twitter too has let go of more than half of its workforce while Meta is also going for 10,000 more job cuts, just four months after it eliminated 11,000 roles.

Even as companies, especially in the tech sector, are looking to cut costs and remain competitive in a challenging economic environment, the huge number of layoffs at such giants still came as a shocker.

A verified Twitter user by the name of CA Kanan Bahl is quick to point out that the likes of Meta and Amazon are not even loss-making companies, which means such moves could happen in any company. “God forbid, it can happen to you as well,” the user tweeted.

Also Read | Meta Layoffs: Employee asks has Mark Zuckerberg taken a pay cut

CNBC-TV18 spoke to experts to understand how employees can assess beforehand if their company is likely to implement job cuts anytime soon and how to prepare if they fear they may be laid off.

Here’s how employees can gauge if layoffs are likely

– Parag Ghatpande, Director at Aon's Assessment Solutions, India, said for multinational corporations (MNC) that are listed in other countries, employees could visit that specific country’s Labour Department website for any such announcement that their specific company would have given.

For instance, in the United States, there is a mandate for employers to update the US Department of Labour under the WARN act about any layoffs expected with advance notice of two months.

– In the case of domestically listed companies, Ghatpande suggests employees keep track of the company’s financial statements, operating revenue, EBIDTA, and any specific talent-related announcements that are mandatory for organisations to publish.

Also Read | US tech companies now hiring laid-off H-1B visa holders: Survey

– He believes it’s very tricky in the case of startups since the chances of job cuts depend on the funding and/or cash flow and this information may not be publicly available easily.

As much as it’s the responsibility of the company’s founders to be transparent about the firm’s status, it’s equally important for the employees to stay connected with the managers/leadership team, to ask questions about the organisation's growth strategy, investments, and the business forecast for the year.

– Ghatpande suggests employees keep track of the overall sentiment of the industry, and specific industries undergoing layoffs and accordingly determine how their specific company if in a similar industry, is doing in terms of business and overall growth.

– Employees need to gauge how imperative their job role is in the company. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a big disruptor and several jobs are expected to evolve if not completely replaced by AI, he said.

For instance, tasks like writing formulaic emails, creating social media posts, and responding to customer service requests could get offloaded to AI writing tools/chatbots, in some cases those may be required to be quality controlled by humans.

If layoffs are likely, what should you do to stay relevant?

Siva Prasad Nanduri, Chief Business Officer, TeamLease Digital believes it is generally difficult for employees to forecast impending layoffs, nonetheless, it is recommended that employees regularly upskill and reskill their tech stack, which will provide additional chances for them to enhance their dependence, allowing them to be protected from fluctuating market situations.

Ghatpande too suggests employees can look at the application of AI in their own jobs, do some bit of secondary research and stay connected with tech innovators to look at how they could evolve their skills/learn future skills relevant to that particular industry/role.

How to manage personal finance amid layoff concerns?

Kanan Bahl, the aforementioned Twitter user, suggests people build an emergency fund worth 12-15 months of needs, which takes into account fixed expenses like EMIs, groceries, power bills, children’s school fees, medical expenses etc.

Park this fund in savings accounts and/or liquid mutual funds instead of equity mutual funds, cryptos, debt mutual funds, and gold. “Don't look for the 'Alpha' here. Emergency Funds are to protect you, not to generate your returns,” he noted.

One must also get health insurance, he suggests, as the corporate policy shall become ineffective if one is laid off, he said, and clarified that emergency funds are not for this. He also advised getting a term plan.

"Generate Regular Income. Not for this time, but for next time. Rentals from a premium commercial property help. Selling a Mutual Fund corpus doesn't help as the market is down during a recession. Rent gives a good night's sleep! P.S. onboard an expert while selecting a commercial property," Bahl added.

Also Read: What the Indian law says about severance package, notice period and more

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