The Age of Longevity: Thriving in Extended Careers

In case you missed it, here are some key learning points from TAFEP’s Age Inclusive Symposium 2019.

29 Nov 2019 Articles Age management Trending

At the panel discussion are (from left) Mr Bryan Yip, Deputy Director, Workplace Policy and Strategy Division, Ministry of Manpower; Mr Rio Goh, Group CEO, Ministry Holdings Pte Ltd; A/Prof Chia Sin Eng, Senior Consultant, Total Workplace Safety and Health, Workplace Safety and Health Council; Ms Sheela Parakkal, Chief Human Resources Officer, Prudential Singapore; and Mr Adrian Ole, Human Capital Executive Director, Deloitte Singapore.

As Singapore’s statutory retirement and re-employment age are set to be raised, this year’s age inclusive symposium focused on enabling employees to thrive in extended careers amidst longer working lives.

During his keynote speech, Mr Adrian Ole, Executive Director, Deloitte Human Capital Consulting presented some key workforce trends and how leading organisations are managing the change.

Here are some insights from his presentation:

Cultural Perception of Capability

Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends 2019 Global Report found an undercurrent of ageism in talent management practices present in some organisations, where age was perceived to have an impact on capability. Many also did not consider generational differences when designing and delivering workforce programmes.

What are leading organisations doing to manage this?

  • Cascading the importance of workplace diversity and inclusion from the top 
  • Partnering with older workers to manage their career and retirement strategy
  • Creating targeted roles for older workers to leverage their expertise and accommodate work preferences
  • Creating opportunities in areas such as subject matter experts, mentors and knowledge management

Skills Needed for Digital Business Environments

As we enter Industry 4.0 and jobs become more “human”, organisations will find that older workers have valuable skills to thrive in the digital age. Such skills that older workers often possess include relationship management, crisis management, tacit knowledge and empathy.

What are leading organisations doing to prepare their older workers? 

  • Deploying programmes to upskill and reskill employees throughout the organisation
  • Emphasising the importance of every individual’s responsibility for continuous development  
  • Modifying job roles to retain critical skills within the workforce
  • Creating development pathways that are relevant to older workers – this includes rethinking career paths as “capability pathways”, where employees are provided support to develop core capabilities, which allows them to explore alternative career pathways
  • Offering alternative hiring arrangements to attract older workers

More Alike than Different

Organisations are understanding the importance of creating a positive experience for employees. Every generation in the workplace today seeks meaningful work and flexibility to create such an experience.

What are leading organisations doing to enhance the overall employee experience?

  • Focusing on commonalities between generations to develop policies and programmes – evidence suggests that what is beneficial for one generation is generally valuable for others – and creating platforms for collaboration and connection across generations

Panel Discussion: Preparing our workforce to thrive in extended careers

Centered on what can be done to prepare older workers of tomorrow to be successful in a much longer career, the panel discussion brought together industry experts and HR practitioners to share their insights and perspectives on the topic. 

The panellists shared their perspectives on overcoming the common challenges associated with longer careers.


Challenge 1: How can we work well across the different generations and manage the structural tension between younger workers and senior employees who are staying longer in the role, potentially delaying career progression of younger employees?

  • Create a workplace culture that is open to role switches and lateral career moves, ensure that such moves are well-handled to ensure “face” is preserved and proper support is given to all parties
  • Reward employees fairly based on their value-add and level of contribution to the organisation, as opposed to number of years in the role

Challenge 2: How can we be truly inclusive and integrate employees in a multi-generational workforce, especially when natural cliques tend to form around similar age groups and life stages?

  • Create a work environment that encourages collaboration and creates common experiences across generations; and learn about each other’s perspectives and experiences beyond a working level
  • Emphasise the importance of the organisational culture and values and celebrate individuals who exemplify these values – this creates a common mindset and conversation across employees

Challenge 3: How can we convince management to invest in training and development for longer career paths, if employees do not tend to stay as long with the organisation?

  • Investments in employees’ training and development is necessary to acquire the right skills to perform well in their role, so as to contribute effectively to business goals
  • By demonstrating that you care for and value every worker through investment in their growth, employees are likely to feel appreciated and fulfilled, and reciprocate

Ways to Prepare Employees to Succeed in a Longer Career

Removal of the retirement age by Prudential Singapore

  • To enable employees to remain gainfully employed to support themselves financially, socially and mentally, as they strive towards living well as they lead longer lives.
  • Employees become more open towards taking on new challenges and engaged

Develop experienced workers in new roles, e.g. training

  • Creates a new business opportunity while maximising the potential of his older workers who may prefer to take on a new role
  • Regularly expose older workers to technology, to consistently prepare them for future changes and keep them in touch with technological advancements

Ensure workplace safety and encourage good health

  • Enables workers to remain employable regardless of age
  • Workplace programmes and policies that promote good health and the early detection and management of diseases should be encouraged.

The panel wrapped up by encouraging all participants to think about how to create integrated, meaningful work and learning experiences for employees whose careers may span across many more years; and get started on making the change they want to see in their organisations today!


Mr Adrian Ole, Executive Director, Deloitte Human Capital Consulting (left) delivering the keynote address; a participant learning more about TAFEP’s initiatives and programmes at the TAFEP booth (right)