Nearly half of Singaporean men and a third of women aged 55 to 59 said that they expect to still be working at the age of 65, according to an ongoing local study. Another finding suggested that about 26 percent of men and 19 percent of women also expect to be working at age 70.
These findings were the result of Singapore Life Panel study, which surveyed an average of 8,000 Singaporeans and permanent residents aged 50 to 70 years old every month. Conducted under the Centre for Research on the Economics of Ageing (CREA) at Singapore Management University’s (SMU) School of Economics, the survey was first started in September 2015. The main aim of this study was to measure Singaporean’s readiness in dealing with the financial demands and risks associated with ageing society.
From this specific survey on retirement issue, the researchers said that such study shows there will be more number of older people in the workplace within the next decade, owing to the fact that people expect to work in longer period. Moreover, lack of pensions in Singapore might contribute to people’s decision to delay their retirement, Straits Times reports.
Professor Susann Rohwedder, a senior economist at non-profit research organisation Rand Corporation in the United States, said that in internationally, factors that drive retirement are the institutions and financial incentives. If people have financial incentive to get out if work, they will choose to get out rather than working for too long. Moreover, since Singapore gradually increases the retirement age instead of retrenching older workers, people can expect to work longer.
“Singapore has implemented a fairly rapid change in terms of raising the retirement age and with some success, as we can see in the labour force participation,” added Prof Rohwedder, who is also a senior research fellow at SMU.
The study also underlined that Singaporeans are living longer, which means that they can work longer when they can stay healthy. It can also mean that they have a longer retirement period to pay for when they stop working. Department of Statistics figures found that those aged 65 also expect to live six years longer now, compared to those who hit age 65 in 1980.
Senior consultant and director of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital’s geriatric centre, Associate Professor Philip Yap said that the elderly need meaningful occupation, and working is one way to gain this. They want to feel they are contributing to the society while avoiding to become financial burden on others.
“Unless they have illnesses that limit them, they still can contribute in the workplace, especially with their years of experience,” he said.
The eventual goal of these research findings is to “formulate policies that will improve the livelihoods of the elderly”, said Ms Jiaming Ju, an associate director at CREA.