Addressing the Healthcare Labour Crunch Through Age-Inclusive Practices

Find out how IHH Healthcare Singapore tackles the labour crunch in the healthcare industry by implementing age-inclusive practices.

30 May 2024 Case studies Age management Trending Best practices

Madam Lim Yaohui (Parkway Hospitals Singapore Pte Ltd)



Parkway Hospitals Singapore Pte Ltd (IHH Healthcare Singapore)

IHH Healthcare Singapore (IHHSG) is Singapore’s largest private healthcare services provider, driven by a mission to take exemplary care of its patients, while maintaining a diverse and inclusive workforce.


Health and Social Activities

Employment size


Employment profile

Executives, managers, corporate and administration staff, nurses

Business Case 

As a healthcare services operator, IHHSG recognises that patient care is the priority – a task that requires an adequate pool of healthcare professionals. But hiring healthcare professionals has become tougher in recent years due to the global manpower shortage in the industry, compounded by an ageing population. 
To solve the talent crunch, the organisation implemented age-inclusive practices and policies aimed at attracting and retaining talent. Managers are sent for training to learn how to conduct fair and objective interviews. They also actively engage with their subordinates to better understand their needs. This has enabled the organisation to evaluate how it can better support its mature employees – who make up 20 per cent of its workforce – while encouraging them to seek re-employment. 

As a result, IHHSG has been able to effectively navigate the labour shortage while maximising the potential of its workforce to deliver top-notch service quality. 

  • Fair Employment Practices 
  • Flexible Job Redesign and Re-employment 
  • Flexible Work Arrangements (e.g. part-time work)
  • Employee Support Schemes (e.g. annual health screening, health insurance)


IHHSG adopted the following key strategies to cultivate an inclusive workplace: 

Adopting a Mindset Where “Age Is Just a Number”
This is evident in its implementation of age-inclusive practices across the entire employment process, from hiring to re-employment.
At the hiring phase, all interviewers and managers receive training that helps them focus on shortlisting applicants who possess the right skill set, attitude and are compatible with the organisation. One example is the behavioural-based interviewing technique, which focuses on asking objective questions to evaluate the candidate’s real-life work experience. It is a skill learnt in a week-long training and development programme organised in partnership with a global leadership consultancy firm from May and June 2023. Training does not stop, with a refresher session conducted every six months to help new and existing employees maintain good interview standards. 

When we review candidates’ resumes, we assess the quality of their experience. When we interview them, we also look at their willingness, job aptitude as well as attitude. Basically, age is not a consideration.”  – Mr Gan Kian Keong, Chief People Officer at IHHSG. 

Apart from hiring, the organisation is also committed to the well-being of existing employees. Managers receive training that helps them conduct fairer appraisals and establish KPIs to support employee development. 

Another initiative is teaching mature employees how to use newer technology or equipment to help them keep pace with the latest trends in the industry and boost workplace productivity. As the organisation progressively introduces new technologies and machines in its operations to enhance operational capabilities, employees of all ages can easily adapt to these changes and continue to excel in their roles.

Understanding Employee Needs 
Most of the senior nursing staff have stayed with the organisation for 20 to 30 years and IHHSG is keen for them to continue working past their retirement age. 
To do so, managers touch base with mature employees as early as two years before they are due for re-employment. Through these discussions, managers are able to better adjust the job scope according to their requirements during this career phase. 
One initiative introduced allows mature employees to opt for flexible work arrangements such as part-time work, while another allows transfers to different roles as well as job scopes. For example, the organisation supported one senior nurse who was keen on moving to the quality control department to review hospital policies and processes, while others opted for less demanding roles such as mentoring younger employees or handling administrative tasks.
Mature employees who choose to stay on with IHHSG are also offered the flexibility of a one-year, three-year, or five-year re-employment period, unlike the industry standard of one-year contracts. This not only helps retain experienced employees for a longer time but also provides them with reassurance of their continued employability, fostering better planning for both the organisation and the employee.  

It’s really about curating and customising the employee’s role to suit their interests. This will encourage them to step forward to continue to work with us,” said Mr Gan.

Offering Inclusive Benefits 

Providing inclusive employee benefits can also help retain senior employees. IHHSG constantly reviews its compensation packages and policies to remain competitive and cater to its diverse workforce. 

Beyond the monetary aspect, the organisation also goes to great lengths to ensure all employees receive adequate benefits, from medical visits to health insurance coverage. For instance, they proactively source for more inclusive welfare and benefits medical insurance and protection schemes, ensuring that older employees are adequately supported. 

These benefits are offered to all employees, including those who are re-employed, underscoring the management’s dedication to retaining and supporting talent regardless of age. 


The implementation of age-inclusive practices at IHHSG has yielded positive results in talent acquisition and retention:

  • Currently, 20 per cent of the hospital’s workforce comprises employees aged 50 and above, with 428 employees aged 60 and above, representing about 9 per cent of its headcount. In recognition of their longstanding dedication, the organisation celebrated the exemplary service of 38 employees who have served for 30 or more years, with five of these colleagues having devoted an impressive 45 years to IHHSG in 2022.
  • Over the past two years, they have successfully recruited about 100 new employees aged 50 and above. 
  • Moreover, the organisation has seen 269 mature employees opt for re-employment, of which 47 have signed re-employment contracts for three to five years.