Singapore

Keeping faith in retired PMETs, thanks to WSG's programmes

The salary support scheme encourages companies to hire more experienced employees

Older workers bring with them a wealth of experience and, contrary to popular belief, are open to learning new skills and adapting to changing environments.

Mr Lam Pang Ngean, founder and director of Axiom IT Solutions, was persistent about rehiring a mature professional whose abilities he never lost faith in, with a little help and support from Workforce Singapore (WSG).

Such employees can bring many advantages to one's organisation, as Mr Lam discovered when he hired 70-year-old Stephen Tan, a retired professional with more than four decades of experience leading telecommunications and information technology projects at Singtel.

Mr Lam said: "I was looking for a suitable candidate with relevant domain knowledge to spearhead a project. He was the ideal person."

Now as product manager at Axiom, Mr Tan leads the company's new Teams Connector service after helping to lay the foundation to launch the project.

The new product links the Microsoft Teams platform to local public telephone networks, so that their clients can conduct business calls through the Microsoft Teams app on their personal phones.

Skills can be learnt and upgraded at any time, said Mr Lam, but the kind of vast industry knowledge and experience - especially in voice technology - that Mr Tan brings to the table is something that cannot be acquired overnight.

Other benefits include the ability to see the big picture, maturity in solving problems, professional networks and connections, and mentoring younger team members.

For Mr Tan, who retired in 2014, the need to return to work was more a case of having "too much time on my hands".

However, Mr Lam could not hire him immediately. He had identified the perfect candidate but didn't have the budget to recruit him.

It was at this time that Mr Lam found out about the Career Support Programme (CSP), a salary support scheme by WSG and NTUC's Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) which encourages companies to hire experienced professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs).

Being back at work has been an enriching and deeply meaningful experience for Mr Tan, butone challenge he faced was getting up to speed on new technology.

As much as he mentors his juniors, Mr Tan was keen to learn from them about Microsoft cloud computing, which is used by Axiom.

"This gives me an opportunity to learn by interacting with lots of people, and they have been very helpful," he said.

CLIMATE

Given the current economic climate, companies may not have the capacity or ability to hire. As such, they can consider tapping the CSP for salary support or the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme (Attachments).

Under the latter, companies can take on mid-career individuals on attachments while preparing for more permanent jobs.

The Government will fund 80 per cent of the training allowance of the mid-career individual on attachment, and the monthly allowance varies on the scope of the attachment.

Find out more about how WSG can help both employers and employees at go.gov.sg/sgup-hostorgs, go.gov.sg/sgup-midcareer and go.gov.sg/careeradvice7

Employment