Four out of 10 Singaporeans would choose to retire at the age of 55, a survey released yesterday revealed.
However, two in three are realistic, and know that they will have to work until at least 60, international recruitment firm Randstad found.
The desire to retire early could worsen the labour crunch, Randstad's country director for Singapore Michael Smith warned.
"Singapore is already facing a talent crisis, with many organisations finding it difficult to meet the demand for skills," he said.
"If a situation arises where a large group of the talent pool are unwilling to work to the retirement age, this will make the talent shortage challenge even more acute for organisations here."
Randstad said that firms can take steps to coax their staff to work longer.
Incentives could include offering older workers a more relaxed schedule, cutting the number of work hours and creating a friendlier work place.
The official retirement age in Singapore is 62, although bosses must offer healthy workers, who have performed satisfactorily, re-employment from ages 62 to 65 - or give them a one-off payment.
The Government is also looking at extending the re-employment age to 67, and more details are expected later this year.
More than 6,500 workers in Singapore aged 18 to 65 took part in the Randstad online poll between November and December last year.
The survey did not go into the workers' financial details, such as how they expect to support themselves in their retirement years.
But it found that three in five workers rank salary and benefits as most important when choosing a job.
The same proportion of workers also said they expect their bosses to be reliable, honest and sincere when handling staff.
Mr Erman Tan, president of the Singapore Human Resources Institute, said: "It is part of the progress of the society, where workers want to slow down as they grow older. But these workers can still be productive, so the onus is on bosses to try to retain them."
Former zookeeper Francis Lim, 59, retired four years ago, but said that the move was not without its trade-offs.
"I rely mostly on my savings and live frugally," he said, adding: "(But I get to) enjoy a slow pace of life and can find time for spiritual development."
This article was published on April 5 in The Straits Times.
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