I recently got a call from my cousin who wanted to give me some good news. He had just gotten his employment letter from a bank in Lagos and was ecstatic. This was his second job, and to him, there was no better form of job security than working in a bank!
Fast forward to some weeks later, I was browsing the internet and stumbled upon news of one of the largest layoffs in the country in recent times. Access Bank that recently acquired Intercontinental Bank laid off 1,500 employees of Intercontinental Bank. I tried to imagine what could be going on in the minds of these 1,500 people and the effect the termination of their employment would have on 1,500 families or more and shuddered. And even weeks after that, still more news of people being laid off from the same bank via text messages and emails. I began to fear for my cousin.
This brings me to the question: What really is job security? Does job security actually exist? I have seen many people get what they call their ‘dream job’ only to lose it at such unexpected times, leaving them in total shock. Just when they were beginning to feel comfortable and bask in the comfort of what many would call a ‘steady and sure’ salary, they had the carpet dragged from under their feet. The annoying thing is that most of people who find themselves in such situations worked in these so-called ‘big’ companies – the banks, telecommunication companies to mention a few. They were the ones who celebrated their employment the loudest, some even mounting the podium in their churches or mosques or parties to give their testimonies.
The biggest layoffs I have heard of have come from such companies that hundreds of thousands of unemployed and even employed people are still scrambling to enter. The Wema Bank sack of 500 workers in 2009, Airtel sack of 3000 workers in 2011, Oceanic bank sack of 1000 workers in 2009, First Bank sack of almost 500 workers in 2009 quickly come to mind when I think of recent layoffs. While these figures are unconfirmed, it is actually not news that there were layoffs and the figures were huge!
But those come under the list of unconfirmed news. Yesterday, news about Zenith bank sacking 300 IT Staff went viral across the internet. It also said that they sacked many of their marketers, including branch heads and some Assitant General Managers and General Managers. A friend of mine who is doing his Youth Service in this same bank actually confirmed the report saying that about three people in his branch have been affected.
So what do people really prefer then? A ‘steady and sure’ salary with the risk of losing it without a decent notice, or a ‘steady and sure’ employment, with no assurance of getting your salary paid regularly. It seems the numbers tilt more in favour of the steady and sure salary. However, people working in smaller companies seem to have more assurance of keeping their jobs – or maybe I’m wrong.
When I discussed this with another friend of mine, Tayo, she said that people who put in their very best on the job often make themselves indispensable and do not get laid off easily. She argued that a lot of people just put in mediocre effort in their jobs so it is easy to lay them off when the need arises. I disagreed with her citing myself as an example. I put in my very best in my last job only to get discharged when the company realized they couldn’t continue its unprofitable operations. Many of us saw it coming – months of unpaid salaries and expenses, resignations streaming in by the hour, and at the end, those of us that were left got letters saying our services were no longer needed and our salaries would be paid whenever…………long story sha.
So, again I ask, what is job security then? Can you really hold your job in your right hand and say it’s really yours? When can you have an assurance that you won’t lose your job unexpectedly? Why do people still clamour for jobs in the most ‘insecure’ companies? Is there job security anywhere?