Did you know that, in 2018, around 1 in 4 of our resident workers are aged 55 and older?
An ageing population is something that many countries are facing, and Singapore is no stranger to it. Thanks to better healthcare, living conditions, and eating habits (to name a few), we’ve got an estimated lifespan of 83 years.
How does this affect our labour supply?
To get a good gauge of a country’s labour supply, we can look at its Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR).
Let’s first explain what the term labour force means. It refers to people currently employed, or actively seeking and available for employment - they make up our labour supply.
So when the LFPR falls, this means fewer people are working or actively looking for work. This would usually result in a reduction in our labour supply.
While our improved longevity is something worth celebrating, our slower population growth along with an ageing population will affect our labour supply:
Lower LFPR – With lower birth-rates and slower population growth, that would mean fewer young workers will enter the labour force. Eventually, the number of prime-working age adults will not be sufficient to offset the number of older persons exiting the labour force. This leads to a shrinking labour supply.
We see this effect taking place now. Before 2015, there was growth in the LFPR, but from 2015 until 2018, it held steady. Thankfully, there wasn’t a drop in our LFPR.
This was partly due to the effort put into improving the employability and skills of older workers, through initiatives such as the Special Employment Credit, WorkPro Age Management Grant, and Job Redesign Grant. The extension of re-employment age from 65 to 67 was also a factor in helping older workers stay employed.
Our changing employment landscape
The growth of our resident labour force is expected to slow down, but this presents more opportunities to hone the skills of older workers, who in turn can pass down their knowledge to younger workers.
With persons aged 55 and older taking up an increasing share in our labour force, companies and individuals need to adapt to the changing employment landscape.
We’re realising that older workers are a crucial solution to manpower needs. But to further progress from there, we need to move towards a more inclusive workforce ─ one that recognises the importance of growing alongside our ageing population.
Released on: 31 December 2018
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