POSTED 26 Aug 2019 - 11:34

How do you see the move to enable older Singaporeans to stay employed for longer?

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What changes, if any, would your organisation make in light of the upcoming increase in retirement age, re-employment age and CPF rates?
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Top Response

Max Loh, Singapore and Brunei Managing Partner, Ernst & Young LLP

There are always opportunities in and for change. Enabling older Singaporeans to stay employed for longer makes available an experienced workforce for companies to leverage. As well, it supports active ageing, allowing our seniors to continue to contribute to the economy if they wish to. There...

Responses

Phua Tien Beng, CEO, Singapore Operations, Parkway Pantai
26 Aug 2019 - 11:55

The expertise of our staff is our greatest asset in Parkway Pantai. It is essential that we retain their experience and knowledge in the organisation for as long as possible, even as we transform ourselves to deliver quality healthcare in the digital era.

Our hospitals have already employed greater use of automation, artificial intelligence, a variety of electronic sensors and other technological solutions within the facilities to lessen the physicality of routine tasks, reduce redundancies and minimise the risk of errors. Together with regular training and upskilling, our older workers will continue to contribute effectively and meaningfully in our evolving healthcare landscape.

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Cherry Huang, General Manager, Cross-border Business, South and South-east Asia, Alipay
26 Aug 2019 - 11:54

Since entering the market two years ago, Alipay has worked with hundreds of thousands of small and medium enterprises in Singapore by helping them connect and engage with Chinese tourists. Many of these businesses are started and run by older Singaporeans, such as 60-year-old MJ Heng of Sweet Musings and 68-year-old Rod Lim of Lim Chee Guan.

Through their willingness to learn and adopt digital technology solutions like Alipay, these business owners have grown their businesses and come closer to achieving their dreams. Our experience reaffirms that Singaporeans, even older Singaporeans, have an aptitude for technology adoption which enables them to stay employable.

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Bicky Bhangu, President, British Chamber of Commerce Singapore
26 Aug 2019 - 11:53

In a recent British Chamber of Commerce event on this very topic, both closed-door and in an open forum, the Minister of Manpower Josephine Teo heard directly from our member companies on the initiatives that they are driving to support employees keen to work beyond the current retirement age.

Many companies shared their practices from implementation of increasing retirement age to those with no retirement age. With the proportion of older workers within the Singapore working-age population growing faster than new entrants and with the increasing life expectancy, proactive steps are necessary to support employees and companies. We welcome the 2020 Budget announcement to address the associated costs with these measures.

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Praba Thiagarajah, Founder & Group CEO, Basis Bay
26 Aug 2019 - 11:53

The move by Singapore to increase the retirement age to enable older workers who can and want to work beyond the age of 65 is most favourable. With life expectancy having increased exponentially as a result of better health from medical innovations, organisations in Singapore should explore redesigning the workplace to adapt and accommodate the diverse range of generations that remain employed.

As a regional organisation with a multigenerational workforce, Basis Bay continuously conducts multiple studies wherever possible to standardise all HR policies for the benefit of our organisation and employees, whether they are millennials or seniors who continue to contribute their expertise and services to the business.

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Tomoyuki Igawa, CEO and Research Head, Chugai Pharmabody Research
26 Aug 2019 - 11:52

With the rapidly-aging workforce, this is viewed as a proactive move by the government. While innovative technologies provide possibilities to digitalise work processes, the human touch remains irreplaceable. Raising the retirement age allows us to leverage person-to-person skills transfer; and innovative technologies also free up time to allow experienced employees to work on creative activities, making them a valuable resource. Though our current staff is young, we are always ready to make the necessary changes. Redesigning our job scope based on an older worker's experience and capabilities will be key so that they can continue to value-add to our company.

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Jayaprakash Jagateesan, CEO, RHT Holdings Pte Ltd
26 Aug 2019 - 11:52

It's a significant move to boost retirement adequacy for senior staff members as our lifespan grows. However, it can't be business as usual as we enter our 60s; lifelong learning is key to ageing right. Senior jobseekers' willingness to adapt and grow will go a long way to shift employers' perceptions.

As a professional services company, we see the importance of our senior staff and experienced industry veterans, who bring their highly valued knowledge in client servicing and in providing guidance to junior staff members. Our senior team is expected to continue upskilling to stay relevant and drive the company forward into new areas like fintech. Bridging a knowledge gap will always be more important than an age gap.

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Jason Hammond, CEO, QBE Asia
26 Aug 2019 - 11:51

We can address several demographic and economic issues by enabling older Singaporeans to remain employed for longer. Singaporeans have among the world's longest life expectancy, so early retirement can threaten their financial stability into old age.

Singapore's ageing population also means we have a pool of experienced, eager talent that can help companies meet their workforce needs. Legislating a premature ''use-by'' date for people while they can still make valuable contributions has negative effects on their self-esteem and financial well-being.

Our firm encourages older workers to stay on, offering comprehensive flex-benefits so that work fits their changing lifestyles and ensuring we have an agile and flexible workforce with deep technical expertise.

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Wong Keng Fye, Head of Human Capital, Maybank Singapore
26 Aug 2019 - 11:51

With the planned changes, employers can tap a larger pool of resources for their institutional knowledge, skills and experience. While Maybank Singapore welcomes the move to extend the retirement and re-employment age to ensure employability and income stability for our older workers, we note that employees and employers need to continue to invest in skill upgrading and job redesign, and to embrace the challenges of a digital world where certain roles might be transformed and jobs might be redeployed, as well as to transition into flexible work arrangements where necessary.

The recommended move, along with increase in CPF contribution rate, will add cost pressures on businesses amidst an uncertain economic environment. Hence, the proactive support from the government in various schemes like wage support, training grants and technological enhancement support will go a long way in helping employers sustain the employability of Singapore's older workers.

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