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Helping Seniors to get re-employed!

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 SINGAPORE — Taking stock of yourself — that is the first step for seniors looking to re-enter the job market, said Ms Helen Lim, Managing Director and founder of Silver Spring.

 

 Sumita Sreedharan - 01 August 

SINGAPORE — Taking stock of yourself — that is the first step for seniors looking to re-enter the job market,said Ms Helen Lim, Managing Director and founder of Silver Spring. 

Silver Spring is a social enterprise targeted at helping seniors find re-employment. It also practises what it preaches and its six staff are all above the age of 50. It recently became the first private enterprise authorised by the Workforce Development Agency to run a job placement centre. 

Ms Lim said most of her clients require prodding when asked what their strengths are. “I always make them think about what has worked well for them and what their colleagues have told them they are good at,” said the 66-year-old. She then gets them to consider the work environment they want and which would allow these strengths to flourish.  

On her part, Ms Lim reminds herself to never stereotype the type of jobs they may be suitable for — she has seen individuals who have come to her with more than 30 years of banking experience, only to discover they have, for example, a flair for communications. 

Silver Spring has a stable of about 10 employers, including Dairy Farm and NTUC First Campus, and has filled 20 full-time positions since it began operations in 2009. It also has 800 active relief teachers on its list. 

According to the HR veteran, employers are not motivated to embrace all ages in their workforce as they think older workers are fixed in their ways. This is a misconception, said Ms Lim, who shared that most seniors are more adaptable than given credit for.  

Still, she is confident this year will be a turning point in the job landscape due to the tightening of employment passes and the authorities’ push for measures to manage the different needs of each age group at the workplace.  

For seniors stuck in their ways, she suggests sending them for classes where they can share their ideas with seniors from other sectors, to help open them up to new perspectives.  

Seniors can also be a source of experience for SMEs. Ms Lim shared the story of a candidate who helped grow the profits of an SME 10-fold and has risen to become commercial director. 

She said a bonus for younger staff is that seniors will not threaten their prospects, being “short-term” workers.

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