Singapore's employment rates for senior workers rose up to 70.6% in 2022, says Manpower Minister

Singapore has seen employment rates for senior workers improve amid efforts to help them stay productive. - The Straits Times/ANN

SINGAPORE, Jan 30 (The Straits Times/ANN): Singapore has seen employment rates for senior workers improve amid efforts to help them stay productive.

For seniors aged 65 to 69, 47.5 per cent were employed in 2022, an increase of about three percentage points from 2019. For those aged 55 to 64, the employment rate jumped to 70.6 per cent in 2022 from 67.6 per cent in 2019.

Manpower Minister Tan See Leng revealed these figures at a panel discussion on Monday during the launch of a refreshed national programme to empower seniors to age healthily.

Under the renewed action plan, the Manpower Ministry will be extending the senior employment credit scheme from 2023 to 2025, to provide wage offsets for employers who hire Singaporeans aged 60 and above earning up to $4,000 a month.

“Amidst the economic uncertainties, we hope that this would help alleviate wage-cost pressures and support employers in hiring and also in retaining senior workers,” said Dr Tan.

As at September 2022, over $450 million in senior employment credit had been disbursed, benefiting almost 100,000 employers and more than 460,000 senior workers.

A part-time re-employment grant, which incentivises employers to commit to providing part-time re-employment, will have revised criteria and be extended from 2023 to 2025. Under this grant, which was introduced in 2020, employers could get funding support of up to $125,000, or $2,500 for each eligible resident senior worker, when they commit to a part-time re-employment policy.

While more details on the new eligibility criteria will be announced in the upcoming Budget debate in Parliament, Dr Tan said the updates will cover flexible work arrangements and structured career planning.

Explaining the rationale for the change, he said flexible work arrangements allow workers to balance other responsibilities, such as caregiving, and are key for seniors who want to continue working. With more employers offering flexible arrangements, older workers have a higher chance of finding work that is suited to their lifestyle needs, he added.

“In most of our studies in overseas developed markets or OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries, the one consistent theme that provides a high level of employment is the provision of flexible work arrangements and part-time work... So we hope to get more employers to adopt this type of progressive practice in Singapore,” said Dr Tan.

The minister also pointed out that many progressive employers have regular conversations with their staff to discuss their career development plans, and this practice allows the company to synergise the plans with the company’s business transformation.

The Government hopes to make this a more prevalent practice, especially for workers aged 45 and above.

“Through structured career planning, employers can therefore map out future business needs and help their workers identify and develop the necessary skills to pivot with the company,” said Dr Tan.

“It will also promote a growth mindset amongst the workers and encourage them to continue to take greater ownership of their own career development.” - The Straits Times/ANN

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