However, once you reach 45 and above, finding a job is a challenge. Older Singaporeans have struggled with this problem for many years. Recently the MoM came out with a set of guidelines on the re-employment of older workers[Link]. These set of guidelines will lead to legislative changes in 2012. So 3 years from now we will discover these guidelines to be inadequate and ineffective. Why?
Our structural unemployment problem is caused by our liberal foreign worker policy which brought hundreds of thouands of young workers from India, China, Phillipines etc. Our workforce demographics has been distorted by this high influx. With a large pool of young workers available why would employers try to retain or hire older Singaporean workers? Remember in the past we never had the structural unemployment problem because during the boomtime, employers will have a hard time find workers and they are 'forced' to hire older workers and give them a chance.
You can read about what the MoM is trying to do. It does not get to the heart of the problem and when we get to 2012 another 3 years will be wasted and many more seniors will be struggling to stay afloat.
52-year-old tried CDC job-matching, but still draws a blank
I REFER to the letter, "Hiring seniors", by Ms Jackie Chew last Saturday.
She is not the only one who has been experiencing difficulty in finding employment.
I am 52 years old and the sole breadwinner of my household. I lost my job in August and have tried job matching via community development councils (CDC). I sent in numerous applications, attended numerous interviews and still drew a blank - no replies, no phone calls whatsoever.
Some jobs in the administrative field require women only or someone who can "liaise with Mandarin-speaking customers", which puts me out of the running, even though I have administrative experience of more then 20 years.
I hope local employers would reconsider their age restriction policy, and like Ms Chew, I am not giving up hope just yet.
Please don't belittle older job applicants
I REFER to last Saturday's letter by Ms Jackie Chew, 'Hiring seniors: Too many firms still unsupportive'.
What does it take to get a job after age 56? I found out the hard way that trying all ways is of no help.
I am 59 and I am experiencing the same discouraging questions and remarks from potential employers.
The often pointed interviews go like this:
'So you have no more housing and car mortgages to service. Your children are all grown up now. You are now a free man. But this job calls for hard work.
'You can't take this job to pass your time.'
I also note that younger supervisors prefer to work with subordinates younger than them.
Still, I am not giving up.
Hiring firms and bosses should be more humane in their interviews. Please do not belittle us.
Those who interview older applicants should remember that one day, they too will join our ranks and taste the same bitter pill.
Tan Siang Eng
'Too many firms still unsupportive.'
MS JACKIE CHEW: 'What does it take to get a job? I found out the hard way that trying all ways is of no help if one is aged 56, like me. While I read of earnest government efforts to encourage people to work until they are 65, the reality is far from encouraging. An example: When I answered a job ad, the first question I was asked was my age, followed by the remark that the company was looking for applicants aged 30 or younger. Too many firms are still unsupportive. Firms should also be more diplomatic in conveying their age-restrictive policy. Still, I am not giving up.'