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Careers stagnate at age 48, poll shows

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More than half feel they have fewer career progression opportunities as they age

The average age at which careers stagnate is 48, according to a recent survey done here.

This is 14 years before the statutory retirement age of 62, which will go up to 65 by 2030.

Younger respondents, between the ages of 18 and 34, had even lower expectations. They believe their careers will come to a standstill at the average age of 41.

The survey results on ageism at the workplace, released yesterday by recruitment firm Randstad, also found that 41 per cent of the 1,052 people polled blamed their age for the unfair way they were managed compared with their colleagues.

Only 63 per cent felt their workplace "values all employees regardless of age".

Ms Jaya Dass, managing director for Singapore and Malaysia at Randstad, said the survey results highlight the point that workers cannot see how their careers progress.

"When employees feel they have peaked in their career, they will start to lose motivation. This lack of drive and passion could have a negative impact on their work productivity.

"Therefore, it is critical that companies provide equal and adequate opportunities for all their staff to continuously upskill themselves," she said.

She also suggested employers understand the career aspirations and skill gaps of their staff wherever they are in their careers, and provide guidance on how they can further improve their capabilities.

The online survey of people based in Singapore was conducted in December last year.


More than half feel they have fewer training or career progression opportunities at work as they age.

Respondents aged 55 and older are more likely to feel this way, with 64 per cent saying so.

But ageism is felt by some young people too.

More than a quarter - 28 per cent - of those aged 18 to 34 feel or are told they had been denied a leadership position because they are too young.

Ms Dass said that in Asian societies, it is not uncommon for young professionals to be passed over for managerial positions owing to their age rather than inadequacies in their skills or leadership abilities.

But, she noted, attitudes are starting to shift, especially as start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises tend to have younger leaders.