Updated: 05/03/2013 17:53

HR experts say working past retirement makes economic sense for Singaporeans

HR experts say working past retirement makes economic sense for Singaporeans

Human resource experts say working past the retirement age makes economic sense. 

That's because Singaporeans are living longer, and retirement is getting costlier. 

But they add that not everyone wants to work till they're 70. 

At the May Day Rally on Wednesday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said the Government is looking into giving more support for older workers who want to work beyond retirement, and the employers who hire them. 

Miss Jenny Toh just celebrated her 64th birthday. 

Two years ago, her employers offered to re-employ her, with no pay-cut. 

But she turned down the offer. 

"I really want to enjoy life a bit more. But also you cannot just enjoy life too much. My greatest fear is that I would lose my memory, so if you start working, doing something, you'll at least stay mentally active, and that's very important." 

That's why she chose to work freelance - training older workers for re-employment. 

"If you want the employers to employ you, then you must play your part. You have to make sure when you finally reach 62, your employer says, this person is very good, die die we must take this person. Because of good work attitude and health." 

Less than 5 per cent of the resident workforce in Singapore is 65 or older. 

In a tight labour market, experts say there's a significant manpower pool to tap on here. 

Executive Director of the Singapore Human Resources Institute, David Ang. 

"Some of them will be living beyond 70, so there's a lot of economic life available in the Singaporean. Health has improved a lot and the older ones particularly are healthier these days. So they should consider going back to work because they can contribute." 

CEO of Human Capital Singapore, Ho Geok Choo says job redesign is essential - to make it possible and productive for retiring workers to keep working. 

In sectors where experience counts, like education and healthcare, giving older workers a training role can help businesses reduce the learning curve of new recruits, says Human Capital CEO Ho Geok Choo.

But salary has to be compelling to get retirees back to work. 

"We must be paying for the worth of the job. I guess we had been using foreign talent resources for a long time. And that inevitably has made it easy for Singaporean employers to lean on the foreign workforce. But if we are prepared to actually make the compensation more attractive for the local workforce, I suppose many would step forward." 

With continuing curbs on foreign manpower, experts say hiring older workers makes economic sense for employers as well. 

-By Tan Qiuyi

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