Losing a job is one of the most stressful life experiences, especially when it happens in the form of a lay-off in your organization and you happen to be among the affected. This act may lead to one being angry, hurt, depressed, scared, grief at all that you’ve lost, or anxious about what the future holds. Job loss and unemployment involves a lot of change all at once which can rock your sense of purpose and self-esteem.
Unfortunately, lay-offs in organizations have become rampant in Kenya in the recent past. Many people have and are still being left jobless as time goes by. A number of companies have let go of some of its employees in the name of cutting down on costs.
Despite the fact that a number of companies have been in operation, it is very unfortunate that it reaches a point when a company decides to cut on the number of its employees in a move to remain afloat, or to embrace more of technology. Such companies included Kenya Airways, Uchumi Supermarket, Nation Media Group, Imperial Bank, Nzoia Sugar, Everedy, Kenya Meat Commission, the Civil Service among others.
Such cases lead to the state of unemployment in the Kenya to keep becoming worse than it currently is. People with specialities in different fields end up remaining without jobs thus forcing them to find alternative ways of surviving since life has to move on. Among those losing jobs are people with families to feed and it becomes a challenge for them to make ends meet.
Family Bank reported that it had recorded a 40 percent drop in its half-year earnings. These losses led to some of its staff being laid off in a move to cut cost. In an internal Memo sent to all staff, the bank called for voluntary early retirement for employees who were on permanent and pensionable terms to submit applications, with the bank’s CEO referring to the move as a way as one aspect of the wider transformation programme that the bank launched last year.
According to the memo, those who were to opt for the voluntary redundancy were to be given a golden handshake of one month’s pay for each year of service and also be allowed to clear all outstanding loans in line with the bank’s human resource policy.
Sidian Bank too came up with an announcement that plans are underway to shed a fifth of its workforce. This move comes about for the bank to pave way in deploying more technological usage to improve efficiency in the place of those employees who will be retrenched. A total of 108 employees will be affected out of a workforce of 560.
Last week, another memo from the Royal Media Services was going round on social media platforms stating that the company is in the process of reorganizing its operations. This move will lead to reduction of workforce through job redundancies, which means that some of the staff members will be left jobless. Here is the memo:
The media and other sectors in the country have in the recent past been issuing notices of cutting down on costs through laying off of employees, but is this really helpful? On one side, it is an advantage to the country, since most of these occurrences are due to advancement of technology in the country, but on the other side ends up offering a mixed bag of fortunes. While it is commendable for the country to adopt more efficient systems and means of production, the expansion of opportunities in industry has been painfully slow to absorb the hundreds of thousands of graduates entering the job market every year, and it becomes more worrying now that more people are losing jobs.
Self-service grocery checkout lanes are replacing clerks, ATM machines are replacing bank tellers and automated airline kiosks are replacing ticket agents. The driving force behind these technological advances is the elimination labor. Eager to save money on labor costs, businesses are stepping up the pace of automation. The bitter part of such occurrences is that; many people are going to remain jobless.
The government and private sector players must take deliberate measures to stem job losses. Many families have been thrown into financial turmoil when breadwinners lose their jobs. Job creation and expansion of enterprises should be the priority for policy makers and those at the helm of businesses. Failure to do so will fuel joblessness and disgruntlement among the young graduates and other children who are still in school.
Investment should also be considered from an early stage in the life of young people. Mentors should step up and encourage youth to embrace self-employment in different sectors and not just depend on being employed after they clear school.