Retrenching seniors could work against organisation

Competency of seniors must be decided on a case-by-case basis, and not based on their age - that was the thrust of my letter (Laws needed against workplace ageism; Nov 6).

Mr Daniel Chan Wai Piew appears to have missed the point in his response (Decide work competency on case-by-case basis; Nov 9).

I agree that employers should not be compelled to retain or hire seniors, but places that have anti-discriminatory laws in place such as the United States, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Japan, Finland and Sweden remain strong in global competitiveness.

Workers aged 40 and above made up nearly two-thirds of resident workers who were among the 15,580 employees who lost their jobs in 2015 (Middle-aged execs caught in double bind: Survey; March 22, 2016).

I doubt that the vast majority of them were dead wood - they were likely made redundant because of discrimination.

Ageism is widely practised by many employers who consider older workers to be more costly to hire, believe that it is tougher for them to acquire new skills and would rather invest in training and development programmes for younger staff.

The impact of retrenchment includes knowledge gaps left by experienced departing personnel.

Many employers discover that they are unable to adequately replace key long-term employees who understand the organisation, its clients and critical processes.

The result may be a decrease in revenue as well as productivity.

Job cuts are often made without due consideration to the senior staff's link to the company.

The years of experience, rapport with important customers and knowledge about key accounts may not have been considered by the management.

Downsizing affects even younger employees who are spared; they will eventually age and fear suffering the same fate as their older colleagues.

The result is increased stress, absenteeism and distrust of their management.

Besides the work quality being affected, their sense of loyalty to the employer also diminishes. The lack of job security may also lead these younger employees to look elsewhere for work.

Edmund Khoo Kim Hock