Mature workers must upgrade skills to find jobs
Despite applying for close to 50 positions and attending three interviews, Ms June Bee Ling was not able to land a job after being retrenched in June last year.
However, the 48-year-old former helpdesk officer does not think she faced any ageism during her job search.
She told The New Paper: "Many of my ex-colleagues feel that they cannot find jobs because of their ages, but there is never any concrete evidence.
"I feel that companies will want to select only the best out of all the applicants so the high level of competition makes it difficult to find jobs.
"We must upgrade our skill sets to remain relevant and adapt to the jobs in the market."
After seeking career assistance from Workforce Singapore (WSG) and the National Trades Union Congress's e2i (Employment and Employability Institute), Ms June started her new job as an implementation specialist for a workforce management software company in March.
Ms Lim Sia Hoe, executive director of non-profit organisation Centre For Seniors, told TNP: "Some people may have ageist mindsets, but it is the unfair hiring practices that some employers use that translate into discrimination against mature workers."
Since unemployment rates spiked last year from the pandemic, the figures have been declining steadily from 3.3 per cent last December to 2.9 per cent in the first quarter of this year.
Out of the 34,000 job seekers who received individualised career coaching from WSG and e2i last year, 60 per cent are aged 40 and above and six out of 10 found jobs within six months.
Ms Audrey Chan, executive director and practice lead of human resources at executive search company Kerry Consulting, said up to 80 per cent of clients she has worked with are 40 and above.
She added: "Age is not necessarily the only factor why mature workers may not be able to find employment. Most of the time, it is whether they possess the right skills or experience to perform the roles successfully.
"That being said, there are employers, mainly more traditionally-run companies, who still discriminate based on age. But with the (Ministry of Manpower's) Fair Consideration Framework, there have been improvements."
Ms Chan added: "If there is recognition and awareness of the wealth of experience and often emotional maturity that the mature workers bring with them, companies who seek them out can certainly benefit."