Revamp cleaning, security industries to help elderly workers

No one has really tried to make the job easier for the elderly without sacrificing efficiency and productivity.
No one has really tried to make the job easier for the elderly without sacrificing efficiency and productivity. PHOTO: ST FILE

Many elderly workers are no longer able to do their existing jobs as efficiently as they used to, so despite a willingness to accept lower pay, many cannot be taken on (Panellists discuss ways to help older workers; Jan 10).

They therefore have to move to other industries, like the cleaning industry which often only the elderly are willing to join.

Yet, no one has really tried to make the job easier for the elderly without sacrificing efficiency and productivity.

Henry Ford was able to break car assembly down into small specialised tasks so that even housewives could produce cars, but this has not happened yet in the cleaning industry.

Private security is another industry that the elderly could work in. But internal squabbling and the bullying of older workers by younger employees has apparently scared many away. The situation is also not helped by the Police Licensing and Regulatory Department's stringent industry rules.

So until there is a revamp of the cleaning and private security industries, we will still see fewer elderly workers and a heavier reliance on foreign workers.

Wee Sin Chuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2019, with the headline 'Revamp cleaning, security industries to help elderly workers'. Print Edition | Subscribe