The Straits Times
Published on Nov 26, 2012

It's a win-win situation


THE key concern about growing old here, especially for the better-educated, is accessing gainful employment ("Be the best country to grow old in"; Nov 16).

Many of my friends, most of whom have degrees from top British or American universities, were retrenched in their mid-50s.

Subsequently, they could not find regular work, mainly due to perceptions that they were "elderly" and not "dynamic" enough to hold down full-time jobs.

Thus, they felt disempowered and lost hope of remaining as productive members of the community.

Typically, they are more aware than their less-educated peers of the long years they are likely to spend in retirement.

Most are upset at the thought of having to be "dependent" on their children.

The new "normal" of higher inflation also worries them as their nest eggs will be depleted faster.

Many people in their 60s whom I meet are capable of being bankers, editors, teachers and managers. But most say they are unable to find gainful full-time employment.

One way to address this problem is to set up headhunting agencies dedicated to helping better-educated and qualified seniors find jobs.

These agencies can enlist companies or government enterprises that openly commit to at least interviewing people who are over 60 years old.

This is not happening now despite the Government's efforts.

These seniors are a talent pool waiting to be tapped, and offer a better alternative to middle-level managers from overseas, who need perks in the form of housing and school places for their children.

Helping these seniors find jobs is a win-win situation. They would feel more productive, engaged and happier, and the labour crunch here can be eased.

Tara Dhar Hasnain (Mrs)