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Don't Stereotype older workers

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I wonder where and how Mr Simon Owen Khoo Kim San obtained the information for his letter ("Difficulties in hiring older workers"; Oct 23).

Mr Khoo's arguments seem based on presumption, without any solid evidence or statistics to substantiate his claims.

It is wrong to jump to the conclusion that many employers are reluctant to hire older workers.

The 2013 survey report by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices on the value of mature workers to organisations found that the attitudes of employers towards mature workers are overwhelming positive: 98 per cent of them highly value their knowledge and skills, and 71 per cent disagree that mature workers cost organisations more money.

In terms of the value of age to organisations, 96 per cent agree that mature workers bring many benefits with greater experience; 86 per cent cite higher loyalty and commitment; and 84 per cent agree that they have a strong work ethic.

Seventy-five per cent of the organisations see benefits from the skills and competencies of mature workers, including better mentoring, leading and coaching, while 74 per cent said they have better knowledge of the business and ways of doing things.

The survey found no evidence for some of the negative stereotypes that are associated with age nor of mature employees costing organisations more money, debunking the myth that older workers are more expensive.

On the contrary, it found that the vast majority of employers - 98 per cent - highly value the knowledge and skills of mature workers. Only 38 per cent find managing the career expectations of mature employees challenging to their organisations. In addition, 81 per cent of firms re-employ mature workers in the same job for the same salary.

With this analytical data available, I wonder how Mr Khoo came to his conclusions.

As there are fewer younger workers entering the workforce, there is an increasing need to retain older workers for longer in the company.

Older workers represent a valuable resource that we cannot afford to waste. It is thus vital to motivate them to continue working, and for employers to want to hire them and see that age is just a number.

Instead of stereotyping older workers, we should instead try to find out what the challenges are for them and address the issues that inhibit their engagement in the workforce.

 

Francis Cheng

 

 

 

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Tagged in: older worker TAFPE

Comments

  • Guest
    L. Tan Tuesday, 08 March 2016

    Dear Francis

    Although I just saw your narrative above I felt I should share my personal experience. For past 8 months I have been trying to re-enter job market following being retrenched. Yes many employers/hiring managers will when surveyed indicate the right "sentiments" and say the politically correct thing that older workers are "valued". But when the tire needs to hit the road from personal experience suddenly many will still prefer a younger (like for like even in terms of pay), person. So do not be fooled into feedback from surveys, talks or comments, As they say locally, easy to talk, harder to act in good faith. While statistically (by sheer fact that there will be numerically more baby boomers in work force), it will seem to show that more older workers are being hired/re-hired. But if one were to look below the superficial surface, am quite sure one would see that for every 10 job applications, an overwhelmingly low % will hire older (>50 yr old) workers. Mind sets need to be completed by more advocacy and stronger advocacy (short of legislation).

    Have a good day..

    Rgds
    L. Tan:D

  • Guest
    Can work but cannot get old Wednesday, 19 October 2016

    Recently went for government agencies interviews, and the interviewers asked about my age and they asked whether i'm ok to work under a younger boss.
    and i replied i'm ok with it and don't mind at all.

    The interviewer just said" You sure?"

    i guess alot of times, if the government HR/hiring managers/directors are not comfortable in hiring elderly, then no point asking us whether we mind when they are ageism in their hiring process.

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