Finding a job during the coronavirus outbreak is tough, but job-cut victims can explore new avenues. The pandemic outbreak forced companies globally to downsizing operations besides making employees work from home. Many jobs were lost in companies struggling to boost revenues or suspending operations in travel/tourism, aviation and hospitality sectors. Expert CMIE estimates reveal that 122 million people lost their jobs in April 2020 with 75% being small traders and daily-wage earners. HR officials estimate about 200K people lost jobs between 15 March and 15 May, in the tourism and hospitality sector, followed by financial services sector sales staff.
Read your employment contract carefully
When informed about impending release, review your employment contract for circumstances in which individuals can be fired from a job and ensure that it is not a wrongful termination of employment. Scan for financial benefits offered, if the job cut is company-initiated. Secure an immediate advance package from the company to repay financial liabilities like loan instalments and credit card dues, over 2-3 months and insist on an official letter confirming this. Some employers use chat platform call services to inform employees about the sacking decision. In several cases, employees are asked to resign on their own, thus foregoing benefits. If a company forces you to resign in violation of a contract, you can sue the organisation. A company cannot sack you for testing COVID-19 positive and absent for a few weeks and as per law, pregnant women cannot be sacked from the job.
Seek outplacement services
Several organisations provide outplacement services offering hand-holding to find jobs, with professional outplacement firms helping selected employees. When a company informs a job cut decision, employees must write to the HR team about outplacement services availability. COVID-19 has reduced the job opportunities available now. Outplacement agencies are better equipped to help surplus employees find jobs.
Look for re-skilling areas
With a hiring freeze in most companies, several skill-sets exist wherein employers are hiring employees. In the IT sector, core skills like coding, application development and Python programming are in demand. If asked to leave, visit professional networking sites or jobs portals to look for skill areas where businesses are still hiring. As many e-learning platforms offer free courses temporarily, job-cut victims could use this opportunity.
Utilize time to work on freelance roles
Even if unable to secure a new job, don’t worry as freelance roles are opening up in diverse sectors like financial services and media, IT, entertainment, advertising, e-commerce, digital marketing, customer services, online sales, data entry, and content development. Compensation in freelance roles cannot replace monthly packages for salaried professionals but the more freelance projects taken up, the better is the pay. Once the lockdown ends, freelance projects are a value addition to the resume. HR experts advise individuals to seek temporary roles in other sectors, when future opportunities open up.
Seek help for any mental health issues
An overlooked aspect when one loses a job is the impact on their mental health. During such a pandemic situation like the coronavirus, with rapidly increasing daily cases, losing employment can cause anxiety and depression. Online counselling/ therapy sessions are available at nominal charges for individuals who prefer discussing issues related to an uncertain future due to job cuts. Seek professional help to guide through mental health issues arising during tough times.