"" Welcome to my thoughts: Work as long as you can

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Work as long as you can

This is the advice from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to older and retired Singaporeans, who he said should stay active and engaged as they can still contribute much to the workforce and community.
But to support older workers, many social attitudes and institutional structures established when life expectancies were shorter and Singapore's population was younger will have to change, said Mr Lee, pointing out that by 2030, one-fifth of the population will be 65 years and older. This is nearly one million people, three times the number today. Mr Lee cited the wage structures and employment terms as examples which need to be updated.
Speaking at a conference on reinventing retirement on Thursday morning, PM Lee urged all parties to play their roles in changing outdated status quo. 'Employers prefer to hire younger workers who cost them less under a seniority-based wage system, making it harder for older workers to find and keep jobs,' he noted.
'This was reasonable when life expectancy was in the 60s, but it is not sustainable with expectancy around 80 today, and still going up.'
Urging employers to appreciate older workers, Mr Lee said they could be a valuable resource at the workplace, given their years of experience, wisdom and loyalty.
To the older workers, he said they must be prepared to work longer and be ready to adjust to different responsibilities, and possibly lighter work and less pay, which the PM said 'is understandably harder to accept.'
Family attitudes will have to change, too. For example, older women can work as room attendants but hotels have reported that these women tend to drop out from the training programmes, often under pressure from their children who are against their parents doing such chores. read more


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