Forum: Instead of job cuts, give job sharing a shot

With the deep job cuts that have been announced, there will be much societal impact from families losing income from their main breadwinner.

So far, the often repeated advice to most families, even for people who have jobs, is to tighten one's purse strings and miscellaneous spending, but that would not help to achieve what we actually need to revive our service sector.

We should find other ways before job cuts become necessary. Organisations facing severe cost pressures could implement an across-the-board pay cut (for example, cutting pay by 20 per cent) as this allows the firms to ease the impact from the economic downturn while retaining talent and expertise within the organisation.

Another option is to find creative ways to implement job cuts. One example could be putting in place a three- to four-day work week and job sharing schemes where multiple people share a job and take a portion of the salary.

This entails a big revamp of how jobs are designed in companies, but the retention of talent allows for a quicker rebound when we get past this crisis. Furthermore, if enough companies can cut up their roles in this manner, people could potentially take up other ad hoc roles in their free time - like how some people take on part-time delivery service roles.

This could ensure that we further spread income and jobs around, and ensure that people continue to remain in the workforce.

The spare time a worker has could also be used for self-improvement and upskilling while still getting some income.

Job sharing could be the long-term answer for a balanced lifestyle for working parents. It can also serve as an apprenticeship route for new graduates to get the required real-world experience.

Perhaps the authorities could drive this in a bigger way for companies that are considering job cuts, as it is now even more critical to ensure that workers remain in the economy.

Daryl Tan