In spite of this, respondents raised negative employer attitudes and age discrimination as key challenges they face in working past retirement age.
A survey by the People’s Action Party’s Seniors Group (PAPSG) and National Trades Union Congress U Women and Family (NTUC U WAF) has revealed that a majority of older Singaporeans are in favour of raising the re-employment and retirement age.
Particularly, almost nine in 10 (87.9%) Singaporeans and Permanent Residents aged 50 and above supported a retirement age of 63 years and higher; and eight in 10 (80.4%) supported a re-employment age of 68 years and higher. Still, in spite of this, respondents raised the following as top key challenges they face to work past retirement age:
- negative employer attitudes and age discrimination (63.4%),
- inflexible working arrangements or long working hours (59.6%),
- age-related health issues and physical limitations (54.1%), and
- limited availability of suitable job opportunities (52.6%).
The commissioned survey, which involved 1,471 respondents between 7-21 August 2023, aimed to garner views about retirement, re-employment, and flexible work arrangements (FWAs), noting that senior employment and employability remain important topics of interest in Singapore.
In terms of career advancement and FWAs, 61.5% of the respondents are likely to seek out further career advancement opportunities as an older worker. Meanwhile, 65.9% agree that the availability of FWAs will influence their decision to continue working after hitting retirement age.
Along with the survey, PAPSG organised a commemorative event for International Day of Older Persons (IDOP) to recognise the equity and aspirations of Singapore's seniors.
Speaking at the event, Minister for Manpower and PAPSG Chairman Dr. Tan See Leng said: "Today, we celebrate all our seniors who have laid strong foundations for Singapore to flourish. Our seniors, like everyone, have meaningful aspirations – no one should feel inhibited by their age. PAPSG will continue to champion the needs of our seniors, to encourage all to uphold the 3Rs – to hold in regard, to respect, and to give recognition to their contributions and potential.
"In 2024, PAPSG will release a roadmap themed to these 3Rs for an even more age-friendly society. Tapping on the wealth of wisdom our seniors have, there remain many exciting milestones we can achieve together."
PAPSG IDOP 2023 Organising Chair Yip Hon Weng added: "All that we push for today will benefit us down the line, when we find ourselves as seniors. From PAPSG’s outreach to seniors, workplace support came up strongly as a key concern as many seniors still have career milestones they want to achieve, for those who want to continue working.
"We must ensure our seniors’ fair access to the workplace and help them towards achieving their goals. We have always championed senior-related causes and the Government has responded with key policy shifts. We will share these survey insights with the Government, and these insights will also help set a clear direction in making Singapore the best place to age in."
Close to 4,000 employees to benefit from pledge reaffirming commitment to age-friendly workplace practices
In line with the above, 12 corporates who are also Labour Movement partners have collectively pledged to raise their companies’ retirement and re-employment age, to adopt flexible work arrangements, and to bolster safeguards against workplace discrimination:
- Chye Thiam Maintenance
- Creative Eateries
- First Sight International
- Hong Seafood
- Hua Cheng Education Centre
- IGUS Singapore
- Kitchen Haus
- Lifelong Learning Academy
- Penanshin Shipping
- Radha Exports
- School of Concepts
- Buddhist Compassion Relief-Tzu Chi Foundation (Singapore)
The pledge reiterates their commitment to uphold age-friendly workplace practices, with these measures impacting approximately 4,000 employees.
NTUC U WAF Director and PAPSG EXCO Yeo Wan Ling expressed hopes that "this is an impetus for all of us to change our perception of older workers. I also encourage employers to continue providing flexible work arrangements, as it is a key factor in encouraging our senior workers and even caregivers to remain in the workforce."
The findings, recommendations, and perspectives from seniors will form the basis for ‘Regard, Respect, Recognition’ – a roadmap of initiatives in 2024 relating to senior employability, retirement adequacy, senior housing, and healthcare and social support for an age-friendly Singapore.
Lead image / PAPSG and NTUC U WAF