​Employers may worry that hiring older workers mean reducing efficiency, but studies have shown that managed well, they can contribute much to the organisation.

  • Our workforce needs to age-inclusive
  • Ignore existing myths about older workers
  • Involve the different generations in discussions

Tomorrow’s Medicine brings you highlights from the Singapore Healthcare Management Congress 2015.


Singapore has an ageing population. By the year 2030 it is estimated that there will only be 2.1 Singaporeans of working age supporting each elderly 65 years and above.


Along with an increasing life expectancy, many older Singaporeans need and want to work, but only a minority are currently employed.   These facts show that the workforce needs to be more age-inclusive.


Dr Toni Maree Ryan, Workforce Strategies Leader, Marsh Risk Consulting, Singapore, works with employers and insurers in Singapore to develop and evaluate strategies to improve the health and safety of workers across the age spectrum, and in particular, ageing workers.


She shared, “There are myths about older workers, including: older workers do not perform as well as other employees, are more expensive, and unable to adapt to changes and new technology.”   However these all have been debunked by research.


Studies have proven that experience is a better indicator of productivity than age.


Addressing the worry that older workers are more expensive, Dr Ryan said, “Research show that older workers are five times less likely to change jobs compared to those in the early 20’s, reducing ongoing recruitment costs.”


Some older workers may not have the required IT skills for a job, but employers are found to be more likely to recruit someone with direct experience in the industry but with limited computing skills than someone with no industry experience.   With effective training programs, older workers can be educated to use new technologies.


The need to be age-inclusive is well-acknowledged by organisations, but they face challenges in managing multi-generations of workers at different stages in their careers, with different wants and needs.


The solution is to involve different generations in discussions and having policies in place that is inclusive of older workers.


With the right policies in place, there is nothing to stop older workers from contributing to the organisation in a no less effective way than their younger co-workers.