This is my mission from now, to be an alchemist for people’s careers, turning SILVER to GOLD. Sounds like I just woke up from a hallucination trip after consuming some of those magic ‘shrooms from the dark alleyways of Shibuya in Tokyo? I have been plotting to get this initiative up and running for months. Read on….

Here are some recent stats from the Department of Statistics/Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore.

Life expectancy of males 79.1 years. Life expectancy of females 84.1 years. We are expected to live to approximately 80 years old because of improved healthcare services/pharmaceutical/medical technology and generally as we are more aware of leading healthy lifestyles.

The retirement age is 65, so, between retirement age and 80, we have 15 potentially productive years. In 2011, 9.3% of Singapore’s population is over 65. That equals more than 500,000+ people in retirement or of retirement age.

In 2011, about 38.4% of the Singapore population is over 45 years old.  Singapore like the rest of the world is getting older.

45 is the magic number I would classify as “SILVER”. On a personal note, this year in September, I will be a silver fox  :). The hairs on my temple are already salt and peppery (on my way to becoming the Asian version of George Clooney, maybe?).

Here is another stat that stood out from the white paper from the Department of Statistics.  In 2000, 2.5 % of the population was divorced, in 2010, the percentage of divorces had gone up to 3.3%. Still relatively conservative numbers compared to western societies with double digit percentages, however, the number is rising none the less. Divorce usually means heavier financial burden due to alimony payments and having to maintain 2 homes.

In Japan, the numbers are even more startling. Recent stats shows that 23.2% are over 65 (compared to Singapore’s 9.3%), in actual numbers that is 29.7million people! In 15 years time (or less), the population of Japan will fall by at least that number, due to low birth rates and very strict immigration policies (also language and cultural issues are major barriers of entry to potential new migrants)

What this info says to me is as we are get older, our expenses are creeping higher, throw in inflation and the high cost of our “developed world” lifestyles and KAPOW! suddenly it is looking like a huge financial mountain to climb ahead of us.

So, can most of us afford to retire at 65? Most would say no. Most of us would WANT to work into our 70’s, in a full time, part time or freelance (more sexily coined “consulting”) capacity, regardless of whether we need to or not.

From my anecdotal experience, most people in their 60’s WANT to work, in some cases, HAVE to work for survival. However, society in general is unfortunately biased against age and not as welcoming with open arms in the job market. Kudos to the Singapore government for driving initiatives such as training (upgrading core skills, IT knowledge etc…) and public messages to get the silvers re-engaged back into the work force.

That’s where I can chip in too! Do my bit for society! Give back! Pay it forward!

With my 16 years of experience as a recruiter, I can use all that I have learnt to train, prepare, managed expectations of silver foxes and silver vixens 🙂 who want to be professionally and mentally engaged, usefully productive, contribute their experience and skills and earn an income.

Training would include how to prepare a strong resume (to highlight relevant skills, strengths, achievements), using social media for professional networking and connections, preparing for job interviews, bespoke insight into highlighting strengths and bringing out each winning personality.

Managing expectations is equally as important. No one owes anyone a living in Singapore, we have to stop the entitlement attitude. Blaming on the government or foreign talents isn’t going to achieve anything but make you sound like a whiner. We live in a capitalistic country, it’s a tough, competitive job market out there. What can you expect in the job market? Swallow the ego on the title and job scope or perhaps be flexible on salary expectations?

In the longer term, I would like to form relationships with employers to commit to hiring some of our “silver graduates”. I am confident there are employers that will come onboard.

Was in the Apple Store in Ginza Tokyo, one of the friendly ipad demo staff was this 60+ grandma with purple streaked hair! How cool!

Was in the Apple Store in Ginza Tokyo, one of the friendly ipad demo staff was this 60+ grandma with purple streaked hair! How cool!

I know, I will not be able to help every silver fox or silver vixen out there to get a job they want. All I can do is to give them the confidence, knowledge and perhaps some connections to give it their best shot.

Perhaps then I can turn SILVER to GOLD! It would give the “golden years” a whole new meaning.

Watch this space, will update you when we are ready for launch.

Photo of silver fox courtesy of Google Images, Photo of Apple store demo staff courtesy of my iPhone

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