SINGAPORE (Oct 22): In the 2015 movie The Intern, an internet fast fashion entrepreneur, played by Anne Hathaway, is surprised and sceptical when a 70-year-old widower turns up in her company’s internship programme. The “senior intern”, played by Robert de Niro, is a retired senior executive at a directory publisher. Hathaway’s character is obliged to work with him and dreads it at first. But she soon comes to depend on him for his support and expert advice, gleaned from decades of work experience.
In the film, the internship programme is part of a community outreach programme that encourages companies to hire older people. In a way, it tries to address the issue of ageing, and ageism in the workplace. This is a subject that is cropping up more and more, particularly in places such as Singapore, where there is a rapidly ageing workforce.
As we discuss in this issue, people are expected to live longer, and the implications are manifold. According to a report by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, Singaporeans will be among the longest-living people in the world. The average lifespan in Singapore is expected to be 85.4 years in 2040, the third-longest globally, and up from 83.3 years in 2016.