THERE are hundreds of people retiring every year and some choose to lead a sedentary lifestyle. But there are others who want to continue working but there are few opportunities out there.
Age discrimination is a factor that makes it hard to get hired even with skills and expertise.
Similarly, there is a pool of homeless people who want jobs to turn their lives around but find it hard to land jobs.
On the other hand, the government continues to bring in hundreds of foreign workers to ease shortages in some sectors.
Of course, not all jobs offered to foreign workers can be taken up by the retirees or homeless, but companies should at least look at what can be offered first before crying out for foreign help.
In Singapore, Generation, a global non-profit body, has been retraining older workers since 2018 and identified specific interventions to help this group secure jobs.
Globally, especially in the United States, some retirees are going back to work in view of inflationary pressures.
“(The retirees) have a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience accumulated over years of working and it would be a waste to lose all this once they retire.
“Companies that are forward thinking and open to hiring retirees stand to gain from their experience, skills and knowledge,’’ Hire.Seniors director Jasmin Amirul Ghani said.
To be fair, there are some companies in various sectors that are hiring retirees, from manufacturing, financial services to retail and services.
“The main determinant is the willingness of the employer to hire older workers and their willingness to adjust working structures to cater for them,’’ she said.
As for the homeless, My Qaseh Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Trina Thomas Raj said it is already working with the Human Resources Ministry to secure job placement opportunities to realise its Zero Homeless population initiative.
“As we start the initiative state by state, one at a time, there will be less dependency on foreign workers in certain industry segments,’’ Trina said.
“At this stage, the most important action the government can take to reduce its dependency on foreign workers is to create a new ecosystem enabling the homeless to be integrated into the workforce.
“This will create a positive chain reaction that eventually can help boost the economy and increase the gross domestic product.’’
Continuing working post-retirement will do good for the retirees’ wealth and health as physical activity benefits the body.
From the money perspective, every ringgit they earn would mean they do not have to draw down on their savings even if it is working part time and earning a small sum, a report said.
It added that maintaining social connections and staying physically active slows down ageing and working part time helps too.
Malaysia is moving towards an ageing population with longer life expectancy and the average age is 75 years.
Only 3% of the Employees Provident Fund contributors can afford retirement with the Covid-19-related withdrawals over the past two years. That means they either have to work harder now to save or work post-retirement.
With all these factors and as global growth slows down and the retiree population increasing every year, the government needs to identify a clearer way to hire more retirees instead of always looking beyond borders for foreign help.
A report added that employers must be more willing to hire and retain older employees. There should be flexibility to hire them on a part-time basis, modify their responsibilities as their capabilities change and pay them a wage commensurate with productivity rather than seniority.
Jasmin added that the government should consider looking into how to encourage employers to hire retirees in similar ways to how Singapore has done it.
This could include providing grants to employers who redesign jobs for retirees, or wage subsidies to those who hire older workers.
“The current MySTEP programme being offered by Khazanah Nasional, which is being implemented by Hire.Seniors, is a great example of an incentive that encourages employers to try out hiring older workers at minimal risk to them,” she added.
However, the Centre for Market Education chief executive officer Carmelo Ferlito said the government should not be telling firms who to employ and why.
“Hiring choices are part of the global strategy of an enterprise. In certain cases, an experienced person may fit the growth plan of a firm, in others no,’’ he said.
Foreign workers come here with a certain set of skills and ambitions; they are often unskilled workers, or at least willing to fill positions for which high skills are not required.
With inflation on the rise, it may become even more difficult to hire senior workers, as they may have higher salary expectations, he added.
As retirees, don’t expect the last drawn salary to be paid with perks and benefits if you are re-hired. Forget about medical benefits too.
Jasmin said insurance premiums will skyrocket if companies cover workers aged above 60. It will become a financial burden and will prevent them from hiring older workers.