The retirement age in Singapore is outlined by the Retirement & Re-Employment Act that was first passed in 1993, “to provide for a minimum retirement age for employees, for the re-employment of employees, and for matters connected therewith”.
In essence, the retirement age in Singapore exists to protect older workers from ageism in the workplace, making it unlawful for employers to retire older workers on the basis of old age before said worker hits the official retirement age.
Currently, the act is in its 2020 Revised Edition, where the retirement age for all Singaporean workers is lawfully stated to be at least 62 years or such other age up to 67.
The Ever-Increasing Retirement Age in Singapore
When first introduced in 1993, the official retirement age in Singapore was 60. It was then amended in 1999 to become 62.
On 1st July this year, Singapore’s retirement age will be further raised to 63, and the re-employment age to 68, with these numbers set to further increase by 2030, to 65 and 70 respectively.
As evidenced, these numbers have never been stagnant for long. The retirement and re-employment age in Singapore has been continually rising as our society continues to grow — albeit more so in age than in numbers — and employers should expect such a trend to continue in future years, with good reason.
Singapore’s Ageing Society and Its Impact on Employment
Singapore has one of the most rapidly ageing populations in the world, which is no wonder when our country features one of the highest life expectancies (86 for females; 81 for males) and one of the lowest fertility rates (1.15) globally.
In fact, an estimated 25% of the population will be above the age of 65 by 2030. This, combined with the retirement age in Singapore, means that businesses too will face ageing talent pools, and have to carefully evaluate their HR policies if they want to capitalize on their workforce as optimally as possible.
For example, performance and training management can not only help keep older workers up-to-date and relevant with the latest technologies and trends, but also remove any unconscoius bias prevalent amongst the management team, such that they can better evaluate workers on merit and place those who opt for re-employment into suitable roles that benefit the company.
As for businesses who turn to employing foreign talent to better alleviate their concerns regarding an ageing workforce (since retirement age is unapplicable to non-Singaporeans), HR processes such as workpass administration and management have to be fine-tuned in order to support such a system.
Attracting New Talents & Managing Loyal Ones
Just as how an ageing population can call for a nuanced set of conerns, so can an ageing workforce. Employers should thus capitalize on providing suitable HR services and using employment trends to their advantage, such that they ensure the constant refreshing of their talent pools via both attracting new talents and upskilling loyal ones.
For example, employers should pay increased attention to the rising trend of mid-career switching. They should check that their HR compensation and benefits incentivize valuable workers to stay instead of switching, while also motivating others who are looking for a mid-career switch to join their business — which then, in itself, calls for a well-designed HR job evaluation framework to ensure suitable hires.
In that regard, companies should also recognize that mid-career hires don’t have to initially be perfectly suited to the role in order to become just that — employers can simply apply for government subsidised programs to reskill and upgrade these potential hires, such that they acquire the relevant skillsets required and bring to the company further value outside what their job scope demands, via their experience and expertise in other fields that can be transferred.
Employers can also look to HR consultancy in Singapore to better navigate the complexities of an ageing workforce, such that they don’t risk a drop in productivity, going out-of-date, or—worse still—suddenly facing a lack of manpower due to mass retirement.