As it stands, the mass layoffs in Southeast Asia trend is expected to continue as the global economy falters under the weight of inflation, rising interest rates, high energy costs, and other issues. Previously, after the COVID-19 pandemic began and governments locked down their countries, companies were forced to fire many of their employees in order to maintain limited operational capacities. .

The Great Resignation was a global resignation phenomenon that occurred after pandemic restrictions were lifted and people were able to return to work. The resignations followed similar trends in the US and Europe, with some employees opting to resign and pursuing a different career path aligned with their newfound life purposes. Still, once talk of an impending recession in Southeast Asia began, it was only a matter of time before companies started downsizing employee numbers on a large scale again.. 

According to the job-search website Indeed’s survey in December 2021, which featured around 1,000 respondents from Singapore aged 16 to 55 years old, nearly 25% of workers planned to leave their jobs within the next six months. Almost 50% were unsure whether they would be doing the same job in six months, and more than 42% said the pandemic had an impact on their decision to leave or stay.

How businesses can leverage their workforce potential in 2022

Stress, work uncertainty, and the mental health damage caused by quarantines and lockdowns were among the other reasons people considered leaving their jobs. In addition, the pandemic made people rethink their work-life balance, desire more hybrid work, and seek higher wages. Many employees realised they didn’t enjoy their jobs and needed a change. 

The great layoffs in Southeast Asia

Almost 20,000 tech employees were laid off last month, according to Tech LayoffsTracker. The high number of tech firings is a cause for concern since the tech sector is usually a good indicator of the state of the economy and the appetite for investors. Southeast Asian companies like Shopee and iPrice Group have announced layoffs, with iPrice laying off 20% of its workforce.

The layoffs could be a sign of a post-pandemic readjustment, since the region has witnessed a digital transformation in the last few years, with many startups in multiple sectors emerging to meet the demand for innovative online solutions. This could be a plateau in the tech sector as companies find their means and investors become more cautious about which companies to back.

It’s not just a pain for employees but also for employers as startups are forced to adapt quickly to the global economic changes and sudden staff resignations while trying to keep their businesses afloat. Finding replacements for lost talent is often a challenge. Due to the tech talent crunch in Southeast Asia, It has been difficult in recent years to recruit the best hires.

Managers must pay closer attention to cash flow to ensure that payroll demands are met. Moreover, they have to find a way to motivate existing employees whose mental health has suffered in the last few years and who are now dealing with their colleagues leaving or being let go. 

Impacts: Resignations and layoffs in Southeast Asia

The likely recession in Southeast Asia is playing a significant role in the layoffs as companies try to streamline their operations for greater efficiency and lower costs. Startup founders can see that the global downturn will prevent investors from pumping as much money into their companies as they would have before challenges emerged worldwide.

Geopolitical tensions in the region have not helped to reassure wary investors, and supply chain disruptions have affected multiple sectors in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries. High-interest rates and tech stock crashes for large companies like Grab indicate that startups should better manage their budgets in anticipation of a lean funding period.

As the Great Resignation and layoffs in Southeast Asia continue rapidly, startups should leverage their marketing and recruitment nous to attract the best available talent. Tech disruptors offer innovative human resources technology (HRtech) that can help to sift through potential candidates to find the ideal fit for firms’ needs. Larger companies are more likely to benefit as the smaller companies are forced to lay off some of their best and highest-earning employees in order to manage their payroll.

To attract new hires, companies must focus on employee welfare, pay competitive wages, boost productivity, and offer flexible work schedules. Additionally, they should improve access to healthcare, encourage exercise, and provide solutions for mental health concerns in the workplace. 

With many workers desiring a better work-life balance, spending more time with their families, and pursuing a higher purpose such as environmental protection, it would be prudent for startups to find a way to offer a holistic work experience. Changes like this would allow employees to feel valued as though they are contributing to something other than the company’s bottom line.