Let's not waste silver talent in workforce

I agree with Mr Paul Heng ("Rehire older workers as norm, not as a 'favour'"; Nov 9).

It is a waste of silver talent if we do not engage older workers as part of our workforce.

It is definitely not charity or a favour for employers to create space and opportunity for these seniors. Their job applications should not be ignored simply because of their age.

At a recent roundtable on ageism at the workplace, Mr Victor Mills, Singapore International Chamber of Commerce chief executive, remarked that employers who practise "a lazy way of recruiting" tend to pre-judge older workers ("Good for firms to be good to older staff"; Oct 29).

It is disconcerting that part of the root cause of ageism in the workplace is unconscious biases.

This is why we need more awareness programmes and more deliberate education.

The Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practicesconducts courses on fair recruitment and selection.

These efforts are necessary to show more people how talent should be matched for purpose and not based on age, gender or other factors that are not merit-based.

Re-employment legislation caters to older workers who are already recognised for their value in their current companies. However, when older workers leave their jobs due to restructuring and apply afresh at another organisation, they are perceived differently and they have to convince potential employers of their capabilities.

It has to be a concerted journey, where both employers and older workers come together to co-create more effective solutions for a better society for Singapore.

Loke Soo Heng (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 19, 2015, with the headline 'Let's not waste silver talent in workforce'. Print Edition | Subscribe