Forum: Help unemployed workers in their prime find jobs more quickly

I am concerned about the rise in the citizen unemployment rate from 3.7 per cent to 3.9 per cent in July.

With the news of 700 workers being retrenched from Panasonic, half of these being Singaporeans, I am worried that the citizen unemployment rate will not recover soon.

It was reported that about 60 per cent of staff who were laid off are aged 50 or older, and another 30 per cent are between 30 and 50 years old.

With many Singaporeans getting married later in life and also living longer, retrenched workers aged between 30 and 60 belong to the "sandwich class" and are in their prime working age.

Efforts are being made to help these workers with job placements.

My concern is that the longer these affected workers are unemployed, the harder it would be for them to return to the workforce.

I know of companies using this pandemic to streamline their companies' operations. Staff are retrenched and fewer people are deployed, with each employee having a wider job scope.

Working from home sometimes increases their workload as their employers may not respect non-working hours.

Overworked workers have no choice but to quit for a saner lifestyle. I know of five highly educated persons who are either retired or gave up their job search when they are still in their prime. Their job search extended from months to years, and some eventually joined the food delivery service.

These workers have many more years to offer and are too young to retire.

This is an unhealthy situation which we must avoid.

Instead of lamenting the lack of talent, employers should seek to change their mindsets about hiring older workers.

Employees would swear allegiance to a company which respects and values its workers. Rather than treat employees as part of the cost of production, companies should value them as partners in creating a mutually beneficial relationship.

Foo Sing Kheng

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