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Govt open to set up task force to create more jobs for elderly

Minister of State for Manpower, Tan Chuan-Jin, said his ministry is open to the idea of setting up a task force to create more jobs for elderly Singaporeans.

SINGAPORE: Minister of State for Manpower, Tan Chuan-Jin, said his ministry is open to the idea of setting up a task force to create more jobs for elderly Singaporeans.

But Mr Tan also sees no need to create a specific job placement service for this group.

He said the government currently provides job assessment, matching and placement services through several career centres that cater to a wide range of Singapore residents.

The centres can be found at Community Development Councils, the Employment and Employability Institute and CaliberLink.

And rather than having a specific service for older workers, Mr Tan said the ministry believes in adopting a functional approach and ensuring that existing service touch points are sensitive to the needs and requirements of older workers too.

Mr Tan also said while the government will provide training for older workers, its efforts will have limited effect if conditions at the work place are not conducive for older workers.

Mr Tan said the government has also been encouraging employers to redesign their work processes to suit the physical abilities and skills of an ageing workforce.

He was responding to parliamentary question by MP for Moulmein-Kallang Denise Phua.

She asked: "Would ministry consider proactively setting up a task force to look into creatively developing more jobs, different types of jobs for this age group and either by redesigning or ring-fencing some jobs so that they have more options other than the cleaner jobs that many of us refer them to?"

Mr Tan said: "We could explore whether it is something feasible. The main priority right now really is in terms of identifying workers who do need jobs, how do we match them. Your concern really is whether should they have more options beyond the cleaning jobs, the security jobs - those are perhaps more onerous.

"But this is something that will change over time, as education levels have increased in the past, with every corresponding passing of years, you will have older Singaporeans who actually will be better skilled and better educated, so more jobs will be available.

"The challenge really is dealing with the here and now for the older workers today - can we explore more jobs being created in other sectors, either by ring-fencing or re-designing to provide employment.

"This is something that you've raised - whether we should set up a task force to look at it. We do encourage companies to look at re-designing their work processes to encourage older workers to come back to the job market.

"Having said that, a lot of these jobs probably may not fit the profile of the older workers you're talking about.

"But if you have very specific ideas and initiatives or ideas that you think we should pursue, I think this is something we can discuss further to see whether it's something feasible to explore and whether the market could actually end up creating more jobs in specific areas for this segment of workers."

Source: CNA/ck


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