Forum: Age should not be main factor for whether one gets the job or not

I refer to the Forum letter, "Government needs to set example in hiring older adults" (April 17).

NTUC and the tripartite partners have worked very hard over many years to progressively improve the employment and employability prospects for mature workers.

Among the specific breakthroughs are legislation to confer and then extend statutory retirement and re-employment ages, tripartite guidelines on fair and progressive employment practices, and very significant government policy support to incentivise employment and training of mature workers.

Eligibility for jobs must be judged on the basis of ability to perform.

I therefore strongly urge and remind employers and human resource practitioners in the private and public sectors to carefully understand both the rationale and the value of hiring mature workers.

Such workers indeed bring valuable experience and a willingness to stay with an organisation to contribute.

While mature workers should not be entitled to a job just because of their age, they must not be disqualified just because of age either.

Heng Chee How

Deputy Secretary-General

National Trades Union Congress