Prudential Singapore scraps retirement age for employees

Chief executive Wilf Blackburn, seen here with some of his staff, says businesses can gain by tapping the experience and knowledge of their more mature employees.
Chief executive Wilf Blackburn, seen here with some of his staff, says businesses can gain by tapping the experience and knowledge of their more mature employees.PHOTO: PRUDENTIAL SINGAPORE

CEO says move makes sense, given ageing population here

Insurer Prudential Singapore has abolished the retirement age of 62 for its employees.

The move, which kicked in on Oct 1, allows the firm's 1,100 employees to extend their careers and decide when they want to retire.

Prudential Singapore chief executive Wilf Blackburn said scrapping the retirement age made more sense for an ageing population with an average lifespan of 83.1 years.

He noted that people who stop work at 62 could be looking at nearly 40 years of retirement if they live to 100, which may pose financial challenges if they outlive their savings.

A prolonged period of inactivity could also lead to health and social problems, Mr Blackburn said.

"With this in mind, we decided to scrap the retirement age so that our employees can continue to work in Prudential for as long as they are able to perform their jobs well."

There are six people aged 62 and above at Prudential who are eligible for re-employment in the next five years, the firm said.

There are six people aged 62 and above at Prudential who are eligible for re-employment in the next five years, the firm said.

The new policy means they can now stay on in their jobs, continue drawing the same salary, and be entitled to the same benefits - including medical - as all employees.

The new policy means they can now stay on in their jobs, continue drawing the same salary, and be entitled to the same benefits - including medical - as all employees.

They will still receive a retirement payout any time they choose to leave.

"There is a lot that businesses can gain by tapping the experience and knowledge of the more mature employees," Mr Blackburn said.

"At Prudential, we see this group as valuable assets and are committed to support them in extending their productive years by offering them reskilling opportunities and flexible work schedules as we scrap the retirement age."

Mr Luke Hee, general secretary of the Singapore Insurance Employees' Union, said the union, which has been in talks with management, welcomes the move.

"The company is essentially removing any age factor to one's value in the job," he added.

However, Mr Hee noted that lifting the age bar is just one aspect of a broader approach to ensuring that staff can continue to contribute to the company.

He added: "Nevertheless, it is certainly a positive step forward."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2018, with the headline 'Prudential Singapore scraps retirement age for employees'. Print Edition | Subscribe