Ageing society

Provide more jobs for Hong Kong retirees looking for work, NGO says

Experts say keeping active with moderate workload and hours is healthy for the elderly

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 January, 2018, 6:35pm
UPDATED : Monday, 15 January, 2018, 6:50pm

More jobs should be provided for Hong Kong retirees looking to earn some extra income, an NGO said on Monday as an international company received attention from more than 100 jobseekers after advertising three vacancies targeting the elderly.

A total of 140 people signed up to attend recruitment talks on Monday, during which food brand Nestle Carnation said they were hiring three retirees as interns.

Among the three jobs, two involved answering phone calls from customers and organising activities for the elderly. The other post entailed visiting elderly day care centres with a team to promote health messages.

A one-year contract would be offered to each successful applicant, who would be paid HK$12,000 a month to work six hours a day in a four-day work week.

“Elderly employment is a social trend,” Kevin Lam Ka-lung, grocery retail director from Nestle Hong Kong, said. “We hope the elderly can still contribute at their age.”

I’m still able to work but I wasn’t given a chance in the past
Eleanor Li, Nestle job applicant

Lam said it was the company’s first time recruiting retirees. He said the shorter working hours for the positions allowed retirees to have other plans and commitments apart from work.

Kim Ho Man-ting, a marketing manager at the company, said there would be no age limit for applicants. She added that hiring was focused on character traits, such as being cheerful and positive.

Maggie Leung Yee-mei, executive director of NGO Society for the Aged, said she hoped there would be more jobs available for retirees.

“Currently there aren’t enough jobs [for the elderly],” Leung said. “More flexibility could be introduced to jobs.”

For example, employers could consider splitting the working hours of a particular job, meaning the same duty could be shared by multiple people.

Dr Matthew Mok Kwan-yeung said staying active with appropriate work could be healthy for elderly persons.

Life after work: Hong Kong employees’ retirement savings fall short by about HK$2 million

He cited an overseas study that found the risk of developing dementia to be 15 per cent lower for those retiring at age 65, compared with those who exited the workforce at 60.

Nestle job applicant Eleanor Li, 61, said she still wanted to continue working after having retired in 2016.

“I don’t want to stop after working for so many years,” Li said. “I’m still able to work but I wasn’t given a chance in the past.”

According to the government’s by-census results, in 2016 about 16 per cent of the city’s population were 65 or older, and the figure is expected to rise to almost 40 per cent by 2066.