The slow global economic environment has cast a somewhat gloomy outlook for mature workers as businesses strive to become more productive and adapt to the pace of technological change across all industries. Despite this, recruitment firm Randstad’s recent Workmonitor research points to a more positive sentiment amongst workers in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia.
Governments in the region have recognised the impact that mature workers could have on the workforce, as well as the economic value they could bring to businesses and the society at large. Past research has shown that hiring mature workers brings many benefits, which include the ability to leverage greater experience and knowledge, higher loyalty and commitment and a stronger work ethic.
Mature workers form a critical percentage of the local talent pool in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. By keeping this segment of the workforce in employment, businesses are able to tap onto a much wider database of local talent to hire from.
In Singapore, businesses are being incentivized to re-employ mature workers through subsidies in the form of wage support for Professionals, Managers and Executives in certain age brackets. Hong Kong and Malaysia respectively run the ‘Employment Programme for the Middle-aged’ and the ‘Human Resources Development Fund’ aimed at training mature and retrenched workers.
Whilst in Singapore, the WorkPro scheme offers a number of support programs and incentives to retrain and retain mature age workers.
Randstad’s Workmonitor research has revealed that employers in the region are beginning to feel the positive impact and are showing a stronger positive sentiment towards the future outlook of mature employees in the workforce.
Singapore (54%), Hong Kong (54%) and Malaysia (52%) employees either strongly agreed or agreed that there were active policies set in place in their companies to retain mature workers, higher than the global average of 44%.
Sentiments around employment prospects increasing for mature workers over next five years were also substantially stronger with the highest percentage of employees in Hong Kong (68%), followed closely by Singapore (66%) and Malaysia (63%) beating the global average of 44%.
Mature workers were also considered to be crucial for company success by 64% of those surveyed in Hong Kong and 59% of those in SIngapore compared to the global average of 56%. Malaysian employees had a slightly lower positive sentiment at 52%, however, still representing an overall positive standing.
Employees in Singapore expressed a positive outlook for mature workers and training initiatives set in place by government parties, with 41% stating that they do not feel it is harder for mature workers to acquire new skills, compared to a global average of 32%.
Michael Smith, Managing Director for Randstad Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore noted, “Even with the less than favourable economic outlook across the region, general unemployment remains low, forcing governments and businesses to look at all possible channels for hiring in the workforce. Good young talent remains hard to find and mature workers, with their strong experience and skillsets, are a talent pool that simply cannot be ignored. “
“When we look at other countries around the world, it’s no surprise that the global sentiment towards the outlook of mature workers is lower than in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. We can see higher unemployment with much larger pools of newer workers looking for jobs. This place extra pressures on mature age workers to constantly upskill themselves to remain relevant in today’s dynamic employment landscape.”
“With training programmes targeted at mature workers ramping up in the region, we expect that the talent pool of mature workers will slowly become an increasingly attractive option for hiring businesses,” added Smith.