Decide work competency on case-by-case basis

I do not agree with Mr Edmund Khoo Kim Hock that employers should be compelled to retain or hire senior workers (Laws needed against workplace ageism; Nov 6).

We have to start with the premise that nobody owes anybody a living - more so for employers who are digging into their own pockets to run a business and trying every day to stay afloat.

With the influx of new technology, competency is decided on a case-by-case basis.

Many old folk need their children or grandchildren to help them with computers and mobile devices. Little was heard about megabytes, and nothing about gigabytes, back when these old-timers started work.

Knowledge and skills aside, working aptitude and attitude is inherent in people who have just joined the workforce. However, they are easily influenced by so-called experienced staff.

Older staff may be more experienced, but are they still proud to be doing the same job after all these years or are they simply staying put because they cannot go anywhere else?

Some seniors, instead of teaching the younger staff what they know, choose to keep it to themselves so that nobody will "overtake" them.

Others teach new recruits the short cuts, the loopholes and the unwritten boundaries among departments. Indeed, this is what we call "corporate culture"; and it is created (or expanded) by workers by virtue of age and experience.

Employers should be free to hire or fire without reservation, regardless of age, gender or race, in order to remain competitive and relevant.

Daniel Chan Wai Piew

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2017, with the headline 'Decide work competency on case-by-case basis'. Print Edition | Subscribe