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Ageing society

Why it makes sense for Hong Kong to rehire older workers

  • Rehiring older workers means lower training costs. They were raised to respect authority as well as be self-reliant, which helps them to lead by example
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 January, 2019, 1:03pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 January, 2019, 1:02pm

I refer to the letter from Geraldine Taylor-Thomas (“Hong Kong largely ignorant of what elderly workers can bring to the table”, January 2). Besides intellectual ability, there are many other benefits of hiring the elderly.

They may excel in customer relations and bring an extensive knowledge base to their job. Second, they may make better employees than their younger counterparts, with lower absenteeism, greater commitment and greater job satisfaction. They also have the experience to mentor new employees.

Older workers may even do their jobs better, in terms of self-confidence, speed of learning tasks and volume of work produced. They have experienced the highs and lows, and are wiser and more resilient. They were raised to respect authority as well as be more self-reliant, and so they can lead by example.

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Rehiring older workers also involves lower training costs: most retired workers have accumulated a variety of skills that are easily transferred to new jobs without expensive training courses or extensive on-the-job instructions. Furthermore, being recently retired, they are more than likely to be comfortable with existing technology.

Given the demographic shifts altering the hiring pool and the many positive attributes of older workers, it makes sense to hire them, even if no incentives are given to companies to do so.

Eunice Li, Shanghai