Despite the government taking measures to address the graying workforce and implementing a gradual rise in the retirement age from 62 to 65 and the re-employment age from 67 to 70 by 2030, Singaporean firms are not doing enough to tap the talent and expertise of older employees for sustained growth, a Prudential Singapore survey revealed.
Almost half (48%) of the business executives surveyed admitted to not investing enough resources toward retaining workers, with only 16% believing their companies are committed to supporting the aspirations of their mature workers.
The survey also found that older workers were perceived as less receptive to feedback, less creative and less flexible than their younger counterparts. However, they were valued for their strong work ethic, punctuality and positive attitude towards work, with 84% viewing older employees as more committed to the organisation.
Another Prudential study with 1,214 respondents showed that Singapore’s older workers want to continue working. Less than 5% of respondents aged 55 to 64 indicated they want to retire soon and 64% said they still enjoy their work.
When these respondents were asked on what policies could be adopted to help extend careers, the top answer was a better work-life balance, beating even financial and retirement benefits.
When interviewed for the report, Dr Kanwaljit Soin, orthopaedic and hand surgeon of Mount Elizabeth Hospital said many employers, especially heads of smaller companies, fail to recognise this and miss the opportunity of fully engaging older employees in the pursuit of key business objectives.
Experts also recommend carrying out measures that foster more interaction with older employees in order to dispel negative perceptions about them at the workplace.
Prudential itself has implemented older worker-friendly measures such as scrapping the retirement age and raising CPF (Central Provident Fund) contribution rates for employees above the age of 55.
Wilf Blackburn, CEO of Prudential Singapore, said: “Companies will benefit from viewing their mature employees as assets instead of costs. Backed with knowledge and experience, they can be equally if not more productive than their younger counterparts.”
Singapore’s labour force participation in the age group above 60 is among the highest for developed countries. -/TISG