Older workers

Tough time getting past recruiters and HR staff

I appreciate the reply by the National Trades Union Congress on the employment of older workers (Age should not be main factor for whether one gets the job or not, April 20).

Despite the work done by NTUC and the tripartite partners over the years to enhance and safeguard employability prospects for mature workers, in reality, and especially since the circuit breaker last year, there seem to be more mature workers not being able to get jobs.

I am in the 40-to-60 age group and from my experience, I think there are companies that unwittingly practise age discrimination.

In the first incident, a recruiter told me recently she was impressed with my profile and scheduled an interview a week after she contacted me. I was asked to complete an application form, with details including my date of birth.

After receiving my application form, the HR personnel cancelled the interview. In her e-mail, she said the company was looking to fill a junior position.

In the second incident, another recruiter asked for the year I graduated from university. I gave her the details, and I have not heard from her since.

In the third incident, the human resources department of an established multinational corporation gave a separation agreement to employees in the 40-to-60 age group, asking these employees to sign the form and state that they were resigning voluntarily from their position during phase two of Singapore's reopening. The company compensated them with three months of salary.

Retirees on contract and those nearing retirement were advised to bring forward their retirement and given the same compensation.

I am reporting the first incident to the authorities, and am curious to see if any action will be taken.

I remain open and positive that employment practices and hiring processes will be improved and that there will be fewer reports lodged against unfair hiring and age discrimination.

After all, those in their 40s to 60s are still able-bodied, skilled and have much to contribute to the workforce.

Ho See Ling

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2021, with the headline 'Tough time getting past recruiters and HR staff'. Subscribe