Job security? What job security? It’s almost as though the concept has completely disappeared in this COVID age of lockdowns, stand downs and failing companies.
It’s not just COVID putting people out of work either. Modern business practices mean companies continue to “resize”, “downsize”, “re-engineer”, or whatever the latest management buzz word is. In the end it all leads to the same thing… job losses.
In this environment it’s hard not to be concerned about our job security. If big and seemingly successful companies like Seafolly and Virgin Australia almost go under, what’s stopping others from following suit?
And perhaps the scariest aspect of the lack of job security is just that. It’s so often out of our hands, no matter how good you are at your job. If you have children, a mortgage or both, this situation can feel especially frightening.
So what can be done to create your own security in such dire times? Well, the good news is, more than you think.
To improve your job security, be exceptionally employable
Times have changed, even before COVID blew up the world. Just like a boss can’t rely on their employee’s long-term loyalty anymore, employees can’t rely on a job for life.
If you don’t like the idea of being out of a job for an extended period of time, the best thing you can do is make yourself an irresistible employee.
The key is building up a clear skillset that is easily transferable between jobs or even careers.
Look for opportunities to take on extra training or responsibilities.
You may even want to consider gaining some extra tertiary education, which is now easier than ever to achieve. TAFE’s, colleges and even universities offer a number of flexible courses that allow you to study outside of normal work hours. There’s no better time than an ongoing lockdown or general period of working from home to hit the books to get a better qualification.
And don’t underestimate the importance of building up a strong network of contacts, both inside and outside your organisation. Yes, it’s harder to keep in touch when everyone is working from home, so be inventive. Arrange regular ‘coffee zooms’ with key colleagues, or weekly drinks on a Friday afternoon. You could even catch up for a walk together when it’s permissible in your area.
Don’t neglect insurance
Part of feeling secure in your job right now is knowing you’ve got your bases covered, job or no job. Peace of mind is important, particularly when it comes to your family’s financial wellbeing. If you have a mortgage, it’s absolutely normal to be worried about keeping up with repayments. Career turbulence can hit at any time, not just during COVID.
Mortgage protection insurance will cover your mortgage repayments for a period of time if a mishap renders you unable to make repayments. “Mishaps” include losing your job, getting sick or even your death.
It’s important to note that income protection, whilst still very important, will only provide cover if you are unable to work due to sickness or injury, So don’t rely on it if a redundancy rolls around.
Keep on top of your savings
But if you’re worried about your job security, building up a hefty emergency fund should be a big priority.
David had an old boss when he first started in the media who recommended we build up what he quaintly called “F#*k off” money, equivalent to 6 months salary because working in media is risky.
Unlike an insurance policy, with savings you are not restricted with how you use your money, nor do you need to qualify for a claim.
And, best of all, you can earn interest on your savings by using a high interest savings account to hold it.
Offset your mortgage
If you are building up an emergency fund and have a home loan with a linked offset account, why not take advantage of your savings by offsetting your mortgage?
A mortgage offset account is simply a savings account that is linked to your mortgage. Money in the account offsets the principle of your mortgage, meaning you only pay interest on the loan principle, minus the money in your offset account.
The more money you have in your offset account, the less interest you pay and the quicker you’ll pay off your loan
It’s generally more beneficial than simply having money in a savings account. If an emergency catches you off guard, the money is easily accessible.