Retrenched tech workers in Singapore face long, stressful job search with little results

Retrenched tech workers in Singapore face long, stressful job search with little results


The story is similar for G, who moved to Singapore from India in July last year to work in Meta’s payments engineering team but was laid off barely five months later,

Out of the 30 over roles he has since applied for in software engineering, API integration, solution engineering and product management, he received only two job offers in early February. This was despite more than 15 follow-up calls and interviews with potential employers. 

“It was competitive. For four to five companies I went (for interviews) till the last round and got rejected, so the market is tough at the moment,” he said. His interview processes could stretch up to seven rounds over a span of more than three weeks.

“It’s quite stressful, I had to sit down in my bedroom for the whole day, go for a walk in the evening. Weekends and weekdays are the same to me,” he said.

G accepted one offer before flying home to India in February to see his wife and two children, including his second child – who was born in December 2022 – for the first time. 

“I got my employment pass approved in between. Just three days before my flight back to Singapore, I got news that my offer with the company had been revoked,” he said. 

The company underwent a reorganisation and no longer had the budget for new hires, G was told.

Desperate, he hastily returned to Singapore to restart the painful process of sending out applications. He has given himself another month before he calls it quits and returns to India. 

Another ex-Meta employee, who declined to give her name, has yet to receive any offers since beginning her search in December. 

“I sent out a handful of applications for roles which were specific to my skill sets and each full loop of interviews can be anything from three to six rounds,” said the woman, who was part of Meta’s product team. 

“I’ve yet to receive any job offers, as the recruiting cycle takes a much longer time now as compared to my previous experience (job-hunting during the pandemic).”

The Singaporean in her 30s said many companies had hiring freezes. She also heard of headcount being taken away while candidates were being processed. 

“With the long recruiting cycle, it can also be tough for those laid off to keep themselves mentally resilient,” she added. 

While still hopeful for a full-time position, the woman said she might consider freelancing or switching to another industry should things fail to pan out. 

“I’m coping financially for now by cutting back on expenses, but it’s honestly hard to tell when the next role might come along,” she told CNA.