Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Over half of older workers want to continue full time: Survey

Aug 22. 2019
Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower and Education Low Yen Ling (in pink blazer) observing a LifeWork course for mature workers with Centre for Seniors executive director Lim Sia Hoe (in pale grey, standing).ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID
Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower and Education Low Yen Ling (in pink blazer) observing a LifeWork course for mature workers with Centre for Seniors executive director Lim Sia Hoe (in pale grey, standing).ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID
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By The Straits Times

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About 25% prefer to stay in current jobs; Centre for Seniors urges more help in career planning

About a quarter of older workers want to work and stay in their current jobs, according to a survey of more than 400 workers released by the Centre for Seniors yesterday.

A separate study of around 300 older workers by the centre also showed that more than half wanted to continue working full time.

With such aspirations, the centre said more measures are needed to help older workers plan their careers, after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced during the National Day Rally speech on Sunday that the retirement and re-employment ages will be raised.

He announced that the retirement age will go up to 63 in 2022, and eventually to 65 by 2030.

The re-employment age will also go up from 67 now to 68 in 2022, and eventually to 70 by 2030.

Centre executive director Lim Sia Hoe said: "Older people say they want to work longer but they do not know how to and what jobs are open to them. There can be mismatches between jobs and older workers because these staff can have certain requests, such as leaving work early. They require life coaching so they know where to go and what resources are available. They also need to know themselves and adjust their expectations."

The centre, a non-profit social service agency, is helping to prepare such workers with its LifeWork course. The course, which can last from one to three days, provides a toolkit for older workers to plan and manage their work-life transition, addressing concerns of career, retirement, health and family at different stages of life, especially at critical age junctions of 55, 62 and 67 years old. Around 3,000 workers from about 40 organisations have attended the course since it was piloted in 2016. A small number of workers also signed up for the course on their own.

The centre also launched a job portal for older workers last year called Silverjobs.sg. The portal has around 40 age-friendly employers across industries, such as the food and beverage sector, security, community care, corporate and administrative roles, engineering and delivery services.

It will help to match employers with older workers in suitable roles.

The centre has also developed an employment pathway for mature workers, which includes preparing both workers and employers before allowing for a job trial to ensure the right fit for both sides.

These moves are in line with the recommendation by the Tripartite Workgroup on Older Workers that calls on employers to engage mature workers in structured career planning sessions.

Ms Low Yen Ling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower and Education and a member of the workgroup, said: "We hope that employers in the private sector and seniors will also take time to reflect, discuss and talk about how to prepare older Singaporeans to enjoy longer, more productive careers.

"We have to get them talking about re-employment early and not just a year before - 55 is a good age milestone. Such conversations and plans will give employers and seniors time to build up the skills required and help the seniors to build confidence in case he or she is prepared to go into a second career.

"Employers are also generally more aware of the skills needed for the industry, so we hope the employer can guide employees into what courses they should go for, to prepare for career transitions."

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