Ageism • Government needs to set example in hiring older adults

My husband, who was greatly affected by the circuit breaker and the ongoing pandemic, requested a transfer between government agencies.

He was told during an interview with a deputy director that although he had 30 years of experience and was well qualified, he would not be considered due to his age of 57.

The deputy director told my husband that since my husband would have to retire in five years' time, the agencies would rather recruit a younger person who has a far longer career runway.

The Government will be raising the retirement age to 63 and re-employment age to 68. The plan is to raise the retirement age to 65 and re-employment age to 70 by the end of this decade.

My husband would have a good 10 more years of working life. Is that too short of a runway (Don't assume that older adults have shorter career runways, April 12)?

Recently, my relative shared with me his experience with a government agency.

His company has a contract with a government agency, and the scope of that contract involves presenting to the agency people the company plans to recruit for key positions. The company presented an applicant above the age of 55 with a good number of years of experience, but was told there were "concerns" over the applicant's age.

Age is still a concern for many companies and government agencies. This mindset when it comes to recruiting older adults must be changed immediately.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has been encouraging all companies to recruit older adults, but government agencies themselves are not practising this.

Older adults have a wealth of experience that companies and government agencies can draw from.

If the civil service cannot enforce the policies and directives that they have set, how are they able to ensure or expect private companies to follow these guidelines?

I do hope MOM ensures that government agencies take the first step in recruiting older adults.

Iris Lim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 17, 2021, with the headline 'Ageism • Government needs to set example in hiring older adults'. Subscribe