The Straits Times, Singapore

NOV 15, 2000

Executives now believe there is life after job loss

Support at home and in career transition, as well as recovering economies, is making the life of the laid-off executive easier, says survey


THE average executive today is confident that there is life beyond job loss.

Not only can he get a new job pretty fast, but he can also count on family support, according to a global study.

While there is a degree of stress and uncertainty related to job-loss, gone are the days when the executive lives in dread of a broken family, long-term unemployment and societal stigma.

On the contrary, support at home and in career transition, coupled with booming or recovering economies in many parts of the world, are making the life of the laid-off executive easier, say officials at Drake Beam Morin Inc, a Boston-based international firm specialising in assisting managers in career transition.

The company interviewed more than 3,000 executives, all of whom had received career transition support, in 18 of the 43 countries where DBM operates.

In the Asian region, more than 800 executives from Australia, China (including Hongkong), New Zealand and Singapore were interviewed.

The rest were from Europe, Latin America and North America.

The study's results have not yet been released in the Asia-Pacific region.

The study has helped to debunk some commonly held beliefs, according to DBM officials.

For instance, about 42 per cent of the interviewees said they had reduced household expenditure after losing their job, but two thirds of the executives said they were not extremely concerned about their finances.

Similarly, even though they were stressed about losing their jobs, the executives were not unduly worried about the possibility of long-term unemployment.

Certainly, one of the crucial factors that encouraged optimism in the executives, most of whom were aged between 30 and 50, was the robust North American economy and the Asian recovery, Mr Denis St-Amour, president of DBM-Canada, said.

Another encouraging factor was falling unemployment in the European Union.

And in almost all cases, the respondents said their loss of job had no impact on their family lives.

In fact, family support plays a crucial role in maintaining the confidence levels of the executive who has lost the job, according to the study.

Four out of five executives said their families were very supportive during the transition period.

Even though the executive feels close to family, he or she is also willing to relocate within national borders to pursue a new career.

But the Asian executive may be less inclined to relocate than the European executive.

According to Fryer, only 13 per cent of the Asian executives were willing to relocate, against 23 per cent of European executives.

Officials at DBM also maintain that ""while career transition is clearly becoming a more commonplace occurrence in today's world of work, 96 per cent of respondents globally attest to the benefits of career transition services,'' Mr St-Amour told a Canadian news service.