Overcoming a Retrenchment


Part of what we do at Elite CV is to help companies and employees during a retrenchment process by helping affected individuals with finding new job opportunities and overcoming a retrenchment. Some of the key questions that we receive from attendees of the workshops we conduct include the following;

Which companies retrench their staff so I can avoid them?

Big, small, all types of companies retrench, this is the same for all types of industries too. We recently saw a great retrenchment wave across the Media, IT, Financial, and Mining sectors among other industries in South Africa.

So, this means companies can retrench at any time and even catch you by surprise especially if you don’t have an inside scoop on company performance or potential restructuring.

Who decides who gets the boot and who stays?

Retrenchments are not personal, they are usually influenced by the company’s change in size, direction, finances, or operations, this results in positions that may be considered redundant, expensive, or no longer relevant and therefore let go.

One day you are in a corner office with colleagues you now consider family, next you are sitting at home without a job, retrenchments are cold and random like that.

If you find yourself in a retrenchment situation don’t be too hard on yourself, it was not your fault or your lack in skill or capacity (that one we call being fired), it is because the company has changed its direction and you happen to be the victim of that change.


If I get retrenched what should I do?

Start with a plan and it must include finances. Often people act in a state of panic when faced with a retrenchment situation and it is understandable, but they forget that this is kind of normal in the employment industry, companies retrench all the time.

Plan your finances, budget your money because you never know how long you remain without a job, consulting a financial advisor is ideal.

For your job-hunting plan, you must first start with your goals. Think about where you would like your career to end up in the next decade. Create a career path, taking note of the skills you need to learn and the type of opportunities you would like to chase. A good plan will help you from running around like a headless chicken applying for every job available and possibly ending up frustrated. Consult with a recruiter they might help you with this.

Is starting a business or being a freelancer the best way?

Starting a business after being retrenched is an alternative, but this must be your passion and you must be willing to learn new skills and entrepreneurship. Starting a business is not the easiest option, however, if done right it can produce a greater yield.

Becoming a freelancer or self-employed is much easier in most cases for individuals who come from an employment background, (well much easier than a starting business). Becoming self-employed requires a great amount of self-discipline and self-promotion, knowing how to sell your skills. Click here to see an example of a self-promotion portfolio.

Any words of advice from Elite CV?

After experiencing a section 189 myself, the best insurance against retrenchments is to develop a habit of saving money, this will give you the confidence to face situations without fear or panic.

Second is developing a habit of constantly building your career branding (Your CV, Personal and Professional Social Network), this involves you constantly recording your achievements and skills gained in your current role, it is tough to remember old things when you are writing in a state of panic. With a strong career brand that is always updated, you will never have to look for a job because jobs will be looking for you. To get started consult Elite CV for CV Services or LinkedIn Optimisation.

Thirdly is constantly learning new skills, we live in an ever-evolving world, what you learned from tertiary is not sufficient to carry you through the rest of your life. Learn new skills that are not commonly known so you can be part of an elite force of specialist.
Have a look at Udemy (https://www.udemy.com/)

An interesting read: The most common reason people are retrenched in South Africa – and how companies decide who goes



Looking for a professional CV? Get one of our consultants to call you and explain how we ensure your success.