Unidentified business people cross road in downtown Singapore. (Image by TK Kurikawa / Shutterstock.com)

Public Service Division rolls out programmes to help prepare workers for longer careers following increase in retirement age

Following the release of the report by the Tripartite Workgroup on Older Workers which includes 22 recommendations which the PM Lee says the government accepts in full, the Public Service Division (PSD) has announced several measures it will take to support those recommendations.

In a statement on its website, PSD said that being one of the largest employers in Singapore with 145,000 officer, it is taking the lead in raising the retirement and re-employment age at least one year ahead of the national schedule. PSD will be raising the retirement age to 63 and offer re-employment to officers until 68, beginning 1 July 2021. More than 2,000 public officers turning 62 and 67 from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022 will be eligible.

The statement also noted that legislative changes alone will not be sufficient to “help officers achieve employment over a longer career”. As such, PSD says it will step up its efforts in a wide range of areas to helps its offers stay employable.

“Our officers can only achieve a longer career if they continually reskill and keep up with the demands of their jobs or take on new jobs as the work environment changes throughout their career,” said PSD, adding that it will invest in skills upgrading of public officers and work with the public sector unions to encourage officers to be open to learn new skills and try new jobs.

Said Mr Sanjeev Tiwari, General Secretary of Amalgamated Union of Public Employees, “Raising the retirement and re-employment ages is much-awaited good news. This will enable officers to remain employable longer with greater certainty. As such, the need for continuous up-skilling and re-skilling becomes even more important. Officers can look forward to greater deployment possibilities to take on new roles at various points in their careers.”

Some of the programmes that PSD will be introducing to help prepare their officers for a longer career include workshops, online courses and on-the-job training. One of the programmes is the Foundational Programme for Life Course Transition which is done in partnership with the Civil Service College (CSC) and the Centre for Seniors, launching in September 2019. The programme aims to support older officers in managing their career transition, retirement and financial planning amongst others.

Apart from that, the CSC will be working with training partners to curate a curriculum to provide skills training to older officers as a support mechanism for lifelong learning and employability. Topics that will be covered under this curriculum range from digital literacy to resilience, growth mindset, and change agility.

To help officers deal with technological changes and attain basic digital literacy, the CSC has also developed specific e-modules to train officers on various topics such as cyber security and using digital tools for communication and collaboration.

“Our officers will have a longer span of career, potentially spanning a few decades. The Public Service will actively invest in providing new skills to our officers, throughout their careers with us, so that they can continually grow as individuals across more than one job in the Public Service and be able to serve Singapore and Singaporeans well”, said Mr Loh Khum Yean, Permanent Secretary of PSD and Chairman of Civil Service College.

In his National Day Rally 2019 speech, PM Lee said that most seniors do not want to stop working and that they do not want to spend more years ‘idle in retirement’. As such, he announced several recommendations from the Workgroup which included raising the retirement and re-employment ages by 2022 and increasing CPF contribution rates for older works.