Are Singapore companies guilty of ageism despite our greying population?

Are Singapore companies guilty of ageism despite our greying population?

By: 
Michelle Zhu
03/04/19, 11:58 am

SINGAPORE (Apr 3): Companies in Singapore generally view mature workers as an asset although they may not have the right facilities to accommodate such employees, suggests a new survey conducted by PersolKelly.

According to the recruitment firm’s 2019 Q1 APAC Workforce Insights report, nearly all (96%) Singapore-based respondents of the survey concurred there were benefits of working with colleagues aged 55 and above – mainly for their experience, followed by industry knowledge and good mentorship skills.

Two-thirds of respondents also agreed mature employees should work for as long as they are able to; a view which Foo See Yang, Kelly Services’ managing director and country head, Singapore, says are aligned with the Singapore government’s focus on mature employees at Budget 2019.

At the same time, the survey’s findings also indicate that Singapore has yet to fully leverage its mature workforce.

Less than half or 42% of respondents said companies in Singapore had the right facilities to accommodate older employees , such as age-friendly workplace features or practices like avoiding the usage of age as a selection criterion during the recruitment process.

Notably, only a third (34%) of respondents agreed that companies in Singapore have a culture of encouraging or promoting those above 55 years of age.

PersolKelly also observes “perceptual challenges” among its survey respondents, with 51% agreeing that their older colleagues tend to be more close-minded and stubborn, and another 43% perceiving them as less adaptable to changes.

“Unlocking the potential of our mature workforce will require effort from all parties. Older workers must proactively seek to combine their years of industry experience with an understanding of new technological tools; companies must provide employees with sufficient learning opportunities to become proficient with these technologies,” says Foo.

“Mature workers, people with disabilities or special needs, and returning mothers are ready talent that companies may be overlooking. Amid today’s labour crunch, businesses must remain open to the opportunities of a more inclusive workforce,” he adds.

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