"My Singapore banking career was blighted by relentless rounds of restructuring"
I have spent the past three decades working for a major international bank in Singapore and as I look back on my time here, I see that one thing has dominated my life: the fear of losing my job.
The bank I worked for was forever restructuring. Every two to three years it seemed that a new unit was set up and another unit demolished. The staff in the unwanted unit were retrenched. A handful would be asked to apply for other internal postings, but there was never any guarantee they'd get anything. They had to go through the process of interviewing repetitively, just like an external applicant.
No one outside the bank appreciates the constant precarity because no one talks about it. Insiders say nothing, and the retrenched staff simply disappear. They sign a non-disclosure form, which means that their bonus or severance package will be forfeited if they complain to outsiders.
I get the impression that this is worse in Singapore than anywhere else. There seems to be less scrutiny here. Every time there's a new boss, they can effectively bring in their own people and wipe out existing teams. They do this by inventing new departments and job titles that create an excuse to restructure, but effectively the new team will do exactly the same tasks. It creates a huge waste of money for shareholders, but no one seems to care.
The last time this happened, I left for good. My new boss wanted to hire her own people and offered me a package to leave. I was put at risk, but four new roles were created, and I was asked to train the new juniors up on an extended notice period. I did that, but I won't be doing it again.
Are other banks like this, or have I just been unlucky?
Candice Hyatt is a pseudonym
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