Forum: Part-time work could benefit both older workers and firms

Given the ageist assumption that one's abilities decline with age, it may be pointless to raise the retirement and re-employment ages to 65 and 70 years old respectively by 2030 (Fighting ageism in Singapore, Nov 6).

As long as the ingrained prejudice against older workers persists, they are likely to experience dissatisfaction with their jobs or the people in their workplaces.

It is thus imperative that Singapore views this issue in perspective.

It is clear that older workers may feel discomfort in working for younger managers with less experience than they have. They may also feel that having a younger manager may reflect poorly on their own abilities.

Conversely, younger managers may fear managing older employees due to not wanting to be challenged by someone with more life experience.

More and more workers in their 60s and 70s are expected to continue working because of increased life expectancy and a high cost of living.

Since older workers can use their skills to make important contributions to many organisations, it would be mutually beneficial for companies to offer part-time work to retirees or to those who are about to retire and wish to continue working.

Such an arrangement would provide companies with a pool of experienced workers on an as-needed basis.

For workers at or beyond the retirement age, it would be an opportunity to keep in contact with co-workers and, at the same time, to continue to earn an income.

They would not be as ambitious as before in climbing up the corporate ladder. As such, the discomfort of working with younger managers would not arise.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

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