More help for older people seeking jobs

As they grow older, Singaporeans may want to opt for different jobs than what they previously had, especially if they do not stop working at 65.

On the heels of news that the re-employment age here is likely to be raised, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said yesterday that the Government was looking at how to make sure both older workers and employers benefited.

"We are now discussing with unions and employer groups to see how best we can implement this in a way which is helpful for older workers, helpful to employers and encouraging of employers who want to employ older workers," he said at the launch of a one-day job fair.

As for concerns that old, needy Singaporeans could have greater difficulty finding jobs, he noted that there are schemes which provide grants and subsidies to employers who employ older workers.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said last week that the Government is pushing to raise the re-employment age.

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.

DPM Teo was speaking on the sidelines of a one-day recruitment drive by Project Success, Singapore's first job placement centre. The job fair for Pasir Ris-Punggol residents had more than 1,000 positions available from various industries, and is part of the project's 10th anniversary celebrations.

Started in 2004, it is now a collaboration between Pasir Ris-Punggol Citizens' Consultative Committees, the North East Community Development Council, and Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council, and is supported by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency.

It has placed almost 4,000 people in jobs and helped about 6,000 others in other ways such as resume-writing.

DPM Teo also announced yesterday that the residents will be able to get help in job searches and other social assistance through a one-stop service.

Project Success will integrate its work processes with a social service office located opposite Sengkang Community Club. The office will have a full-time staff member to assist residents with finding jobs.

Ms Irene Lim, 65, was among those at the job fair yesterday.

"I'm a retiree but I want to find something to keep me occupied for a few days during the week, like maybe a job as a library assistant," she said.

This article was published on May 4 in The Straits Times.

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