The Straits Times
Published on Nov 16, 2012

Register over-50s to harvest their talent


MR PETER Chua's letter ("Over 50 and jobless: How he made it back without discrimination"; last Saturday) made me think about my own situation.

I will be 50 years old soon and it worries me. I am not afraid of ageing but of how I will be perceived. Despite some folks claiming that 40 is the new 30, or that 50 is the new 40, the general impression is that at 50, a person is ready to be a grandparent.

Yet, we pioneered the fitness generation, the multinational corporation generation and even the "take-a-chance-with-a-start-up" generation of the era.

With over 25 years of varied work experience, people of my generation feel more than ready to spread our wings.

For instance, I have experience in research and development, manufacturing, editorial, public relations, advertising and education. These skills were not acquired as a consequence of job-hopping, but were the result of opportunities and headhunting.

When I compare myself to the person I was when I first started working, I can see a huge difference.

Not all of us want to run our own business from scratch like Mr Chua, but small companies and purposeful organisations can embrace people like me and leverage on our talents.

Headhunters typically comply with companies' wishes to hire young people who they think can grow the business.

The Government should set up a register or guild to capture the talents of folks like me, so companies clamouring for experienced talent can have a place to turn to.

We can then easily look forward to another 20 years of active service. If we are productive, we will become less of a burden. And as perceived "seniors", we can certainly mentor members of a younger generation who are still finding their feet.

Lai Tuck Chong