Insights + interviews

An Ageing Workforce Part 1: New Opportunities For Older Staff?

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The problem of ageism still persists at numerous workplaces, with companies failing to see the benefit in retaining experienced talent to help nurture talent from within.

Within the workforce, we are seeing an increase in evidence that the retirement age is fast becoming a meaningless benchmark, with numerous socioeconomic factors contributing to a prolonged working life for a large part of the population. In fact, the percentage of workers age 50 and older is expected to rise steadily over the next few years as more people remain longer in the workforce, as well as those re-entering the job market in search of a job, having called it a day at least once in their careers.

However the obstacle of age discrimination rears its ugly head time after time, with companies failing to utilise the benefits of older workers by viewing them as an invaluable source of experience and knowledge, and as a result allow age discrimination to persist as well as the adoption of a preconceived stereotype that a long career and lots of experience equates to the highest salary one can ever have. The failure to address this issue has a damaging impact with many older workers harbouring the notion that their age negatively impacts their work, while others assume that they would be passed over for promotion due to their age. As such, the Tripartite Committee on Employability of Older in Singapore was set up in March 2005 to recommend measures to enhance the employability of older workers and help them stay employed longer so as to push the effective retirement age beyond 62 as well as positively shape the perceptions and mindsets of employees and the public towards the employment of older workers.

But what are the benefits of having an older worker on the team? There’s a Chinese adage that goes “姜还是老的辣”, which means “The older the ginger, the more pungent its flavour” or simply put – veterans are more experienced and capable than recruits or old hands are better than green horns, and such is the case for older workers as most of them have:

  • Good leadership skills and a wealth of industry experience having amassed years through the weathering of storms in their careers.
  • Are focused in getting their work done as they know what they want and what needs to be done, and often are not looking at pastures new.
  • Are loyal, as they are satisfied with their jobs and tend to stay on longer.
  • Lower absentee rates than their younger colleagues.
  • Have better work ethic and have the tendency to roll up their sleeves and get the job done regardless of difficulty.
  • Have strong networks as they have been in the workforce longer and had more time to meet people and network along the way.

Read Part 2 here.

Read Part 3 here.

Read Part 4 here.

Read Part 5 here.




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