Is HR 'failing' to support older workers in Singapore?

Problems like ageism persist in offices despite best efforts

Is HR 'failing' to support older workers in Singapore?

Nearly nine in 10 leaders in Singapore believe companies need to invest more in leveraging their older employees to sustain business growth, found a new report.

Plenty of older workers in Singapore have indicated an interest to continue working. However, employers may not be doing enough to accommodate them.

What’s worse, ageism is still a persistent problem at work – particularly during the recruitment process.

Findings from Prudential’s research show age is still a factor during recruitment. Six out of 10 executives said a candidate’s age influenced their hiring decisions.

Leaders surveyed also perceived older workers to be less receptive to feedback, less creative and less flexible than their younger counterparts.

On the flip side, they appreciate older workers for their strong work ethic, punctuality and positive attitude towards work. Eight in 10 respondents (84%) view older employees as more committed to the organisation.

Experts interviewed for the report recommend measures that foster more interaction with older employees as a way to dispel negative perceptions about them at the workplace.

READ MORE: Is HR doing enough for older workers?

The study found that 64% of Singaporeans aged 55 to 64 still enjoy their work. No more than 5% indicated a desire to retire soon.

Despite this positive attitude towards work, employers are not stepping up. Nearly half (48%) of executives admitted to not investing enough resources toward retaining workers.

Additionally, only 16% of leaders believe their companies are committed to support the aspirations of their older employees who want to work into their 60s and 70s.

Employers need to do more going forward, especially as the government rolls out new policies around making work environments more age-friendly.

READ MORE: Singapore’s ‘progressive’ strategy for ageing workforce

“Companies will benefit from viewing their mature employees as assets instead of costs,” said Wilf Blackburn, CEO at Prudential Singapore. “Backed with knowledge and experience, they can be equally if not more productive than their younger counterparts.

“To fully leverage the older workforce, there is a need to invest in building their capabilities, so they stay relevant and future-ready. This will lead to greater productivity for companies and contribute to Singapore’s competitiveness in the ever-changing global economy.”

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