SOS Global Indians group with 250,000 members seeks public sector jobs for laid off Indians abroad
“Nearly 25-30% of the posts on our group since the last 8-10 weeks have been about layoffs.
Considering we have so many members, that’s a strong number” – Michael Khanna, Admin, SOS Global Indians
The tech-industry is going through one of its most volatile phases in recent times. With Microsoft and Amazon both announcing a fresh round of lay-offs last week, the mood in the STEM circles is one of gloom.
Just Last Friday, Google announced that they will be laying-off some 12,000 people from their workforce. Earlier last week, Microsoft announced lay-offs that would cost 10,000 of its employees their jobs.
Read: Amid job cuts, does an H-1B visa still hold its charm? (January 23, 2023)
While no statistics are available about Indians who have lost jobs, but going by the strength of Indians employed in big-tech companies in the US on work-based visas, at least 30-40 percent of those laid-off are estimated to be Indians.
Alarmed by sudden job losses while working towards maintaining their visa status, Indians are finding it exceptionally challenging to navigate immigration legalities.
As the job onslaught continues, many Indian expat social media groups, Indian American communities are now coming together to offer meaningful resources and advice during this crisis.
Indian American Michael Khanna started a Facebook group, SOS Global Indians in 2020 during the Covid crisis. It served as an immense resource for Indians and Indian Americans to seek help and advice on everything from oxygen cylinders to hospital beds for their relatives back home.
The group with over 250,000 members has now geared up for this post-Covid economic downturn. Khanna initiated a job bulletin and the community led project is doing everything from providing job postings to providing emotional support during these tough times.
Read: Indian techies prepare for worst amid lay-off spree (January 10, 2023)
The American Bazaar caught up with Khanna to learn about a deluge of reported lay-offs among Indians and how the group plans to approach the Government of India to help during the crisis.
AB: Have you seen an uptick in people sharing in the group about layoffs recently? What’s the average number of cases that you hear lately. Is it much higher than ever before?
MK: Yes! A significant jump in posts about layoffs has been noticed. Every third post is about a layoff crisis and overall nearly 25-30% of the posts on our group since the last 8-10 weeks have been about layoffs.
Considering we’re nearly 250,000 members strong, that’s a big number. This wasn’t the case earlier with layoffs/job search posts being around 10% of the posts coming in. We’re seeing a deluge of laid off personnel and as a responsible community, are trying our best to help them.
AB: What are the ways in which people have come together to help each other? Tell us about the job bulletin that has been posted on the group.
MK: We are one of the largest online support groups for PIOs and NRIs abroad and this has been achieved through peer to peer assistance, professionals coming forward to offer discounted services and companies partnering with us to offer solutions to complex problems.
Our ecosystem converges to help those who need solutions. Every time a crisis comes along, our community rallies together to help. Currently, we’re channelizing all our members to share job referrals within their company.
We’ve announced a job bulletin that invites members to post the links to their company openings, so job seekers can refer & apply to them. This bulletin is updated once in 15 days as of now. We’ve also created a dedicated chat & email ID in our group to discuss jobs and layoffs related matters in real time.
Read: How workers can stay in the US after losing jobs (December 20, 2022)
AB: What more can be done to help Indians abroad who are currently facing this livelihood crisis?
MK: Economically, what is being done by us, has to be amplified through other communities as well so that somewhere, somehow, help can reach the impacted.
Staffing and recruitment agencies need to step up their efforts and collaborate with communities/NGOs like ours and bring new opportunities to those who’ve been laid off.
Our community will be sending an appeal to the Government of India via its embassies and consulates to offer up available government and public sector jobs which are vacant and can be filled in by the talent pool being released from the private sector.
This might be a great way to meet the talent shortage within the public sector by recruiting people with solid skills but suffering due to a lay off.
Emotional and mental health counseling resources have to be deployed to help the impacted deal with the trauma and loss of the situation, so that no extreme steps are taken by them.
Mentors, coaches and upskilling companies need to come forward to offer discounted offers so that the laid off workforce can use this time to hone new or upgraded skills, making them employable sooner.