Our population is ageing

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 February, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 February, 2010, 12:00am

I am concerned about Hong Kong's ageing population. Young people will have to bear the burden of looking after the rising number of elderly people, while the shrinking workforce could seriously affect the city's economy.

I have three suggestions to solve this problem.

First, the government could encourage employers to be flexible about the retirement age.

Although the current retirement age is 60, employees could actually work for a few more years. Asking them to quit at 60 is a waste of resources.

Second, couples should be encouraged to have more children. They could even be offered incentives to help boost Hong Kong's birth rate.

Third, the government should take steps to attract young immigrants to Hong Kong. With more young people in the workforce, the effects of an ageing population could be minimised.

Winkie Chan, SKH Li Fook Hing Secondary School

From the Editor

Thank you for your letter, Winkie. It is right that you should be concerned about the problems of an ageing population. After all, today's students are the ones who will have to foot the bill.

There are many issues at play here. One of them is culture. It seems everything today is geared towards youth and helping the youth become established.

It seems that people do not give much thought to retaining older workers. Indeed, if you are older than 45 and lose your job, the chances of getting a new one are not very good. Moreover, today's companies also focus on young workers because they can pay them less. Recently I read a report about cost-cutting measures in British universities where instead of employing professors to teach, the colleges were going to use undergraduates.

Everyone seems to forget that older people also pay taxes when they work. They also support the nation and in turn they too require protection, so that the burden of looking after them does not fall on the young.

Susan, Editor