Mental health and workplace support must evolve with the needs of Singapore’s New Old
Nearly 8 in 10 52-62 year olds want companies to provide flexible work arrangements for senior employees.
SINGAPORE, 2 NOVEMBER, 2022: Nearly 7 in 10 of 52-62 year old Singaporeans and permanent residents expect some form of assistance when they retire. Close to half of the respondents (49%) expect emotional or mental health support, a joint study between Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO) and consumer research company Milieu Insight revealed.
The survey was conducted under the Milieu For Good initiative, which provides pro-bono research services to social enterprises and non-profit organisations. The SCWO Ageing Taskforce sought to understand the retirement planning needs of Tomorrow’s New Old (TNO), defined as people who are currently 52-62 year old and who will be turning 60-70 years old in 2030 – the year when the reemployment age is 70 years old. 500 people in this age group were surveyed from 27 June to 7 July this year via Milieu Insight’s online proprietary panel.
Respondents were asked about their retirement preparedness across five aspects: physical, emotional or mental, financial, social and spiritual, and other types of support they expect from the government and employers.
While 7 in 10 expect support in their retirement years, especially for emotional/mental health, 31% intend to live independently after they retire. 84% are currently taking steps to achieve the desired independence.
92% are ensuring that they have enough savings for retirement and 81% are keeping healthy through regular exercise and/or a healthy diet.
Respondents surveyed prefer to live with their spouses (63%) and family (49%) after retirement but are also open towards alternative living arrangements. More than half of respondents are at least ‘somewhat willing’ to use services provided in senior care centres or live in community homes. In the case where they may require long-term medical care, 73% share similar sentiments towards nursing homes.
A closer look at employer support revealed that flexible work arrangements top the priority of senior workers (78%), and 1 in 2 want support from their employers for retirement preparation.
Interest in upskilling and reskilling is found to be low among this group, with only 38% indicating that they want their employers to provide reskilling workshops and training while 50% of respondents want the government to provide these workshops.
But topping the list of expectations is for the government to provide more healthcare subsidies (87%), followed by more subsidies for alternative living arrangements (69%) and coming in close is the expectation to turn homes senior friendly (67%).
With the survey results and research on the current landscape, the Ageing Taskforce provided recommendations across four spheres – Personal, People, Private, and Public – to better prepare TNOs for a life of healthy ageing and comfortable retirement. This includes providing better resources for retirement planning, encouraging more emphasis on their mental and emotional wellbeing, and promoting inclusivity in workplaces for older employees.
Gerald Ang, CEO & Founder of Milieu Insight, states “With the retirement age slated to increase in the coming years, we need to adequately prepare employers and current senior employees for retirement as early as possible, while recognising that the needs of this generation are different from their predecessors. With nearly 7 in 10 TNOs expecting some form of support in their retirement years, this survey has highlighted various areas that the government, employers and individuals themselves can do more to support the senior generation, and help them achieve a fulfilling retirement ahead with dignity.”
Co-Chairperson of SCWO’s Ageing Taskforce, Dr June Goh, comments “This important report on Tomorrow’s New Old comes at a crucial time where action is imperative if we are to anticipate and prepare for this burgeoning and soon to be a dominant part of the population in Singapore. We need to understand how best to help TNOs be productive and happy to the changing workplace should they choose to continue working. Companies and government must understand how to adapt to their needs so as to harness the power of TNOs in the workplace. More importantly TNOs and government must be prepared for the resources and financial challenges ahead.”
About Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations:
The Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO) is the national coordinating body of women’s organisations in Singapore. We have more than 60 Member Organisations representing over 600,000 women in Singapore. Together with our members, we seek to promote the ideals of `Equal Space, Equal Voice and Equal Worth’ for women in Singapore.
Equal Space: Women should feel safe wherever they are, free to live their lives as they choose without any danger of discrimination, harassment, sexual assault, and violence.
Equal Voice: Women should be equally represented in political, corporate, and community leadership. Policymaking will benefit from the perspectives they bring to the discussions and decisions.
Equal Worth: Women should be fully recognised and valued for their contributions to society, family, and the workplace, where there should be no gender wage gap for work of equal value.
The SCWO Ageing Taskforce, spearheaded by SCWO, alongside representation from its members – NTUC U Women and Family Unit (NTUC WAF), People’s Association Women’s Integration Network (PA WIN), Singapore Muslim Women’s Association (PPIS), Singapore Women’s Association (SWA), Women Empowered for Work and Mothering (WEWAM), and Society for WINGS – seek to advance the work concerning ageing and aged women in Singapore. The Taskforce aims to look into conducting research studies on the most vulnerable population of the aged population in Singapore with a gendered lens.
About Milieu Insight:
Milieu Insight is a consumer research and analytics company that connects businesses directly with their target audience for market research. The company collects consumer opinion data across a multitude of lifestyle topics and sectors through a proprietary mobile app known as Milieu Surveys. Milieu’s customer platform, known as Canvas, offers businesses a wide range of tools for accessing, analysing, and visualising high-value and timely consumer opinion data to help power better decision-making and strategy.
This online survey was conducted via Milieu’s proprietary survey community in Singapore with N=500 Singaporeans and Singapore permanent residents (PR) aged 52-62 years old. Fieldwork was conducted from 27 June to 7 July 2022.