Elderly people offering rising presence in labour market

December 27, 2021 | 08:32
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The number of elderly people wishing to return to the labour market continues to increase as many, at the current retirement age, are still healthy enough to carry on working.
Elderly people offering rising presence in labour market
Currently around 40-45 per cent of the elderly are still engaged in economic activities, Photo: Van Pham

Despite retiring 10 years ago, Nguyen Manh Luu, a former director of a state-owned enterprise, established Hoang Long SC JSC, which specialises in the supervision and execution of construction projects based in Dong Da district of Hanoi. At the age of 72, Luu is still involved in running the company as a director and still regularly meets with partners. Luu said that continuing to work makes him feel happier and useful. “Currently, I have no economic pressure, so the purpose of working is just to satisfy my passion. I love this job and will continue to do it until my health no longer allows,” he explained.

Some other positions such as security guards and housekeepers in Hoang Long SC are also taken up by retired workers. Luu is just one of many Vietnamese elderly people who have a need to work and want to stay in the labour market. When Vietnam officially entered an ageing phase a decade ago, the use of elderly workers became an inevitable trend.

The country is facing a rapidly-ageing population, with the number of people over 60 years old expected to reach 27 million, accounting for a quarter of the total population, by 2050.

According to the 2019 Population and Housing Census, Vietnam currently has nearly 13 million people aged 60 and over, accounting for 13.6 per cent of the population. The percentage of older people in Vietnam is expected to increase to 17 per cent by 2031 and up to 20 per cent by 2038.

Since January, for employees working in normal conditions, the retirement age was set at 60 years and thee months for males and 55 years and four months for females, according to Decree No.135/2020/ND-CP. For males, each subsequent year the retirement age will increase by three months up to a retirement age of 62 in 2028.

Meanwhile, research results on the participation in economic activities of the elderly held last year in Ho Chi Minh City, Nghe An province, and Hai Duong province by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) show that 40-45 per cent of the elderly are still engaged in economic activities. In particular, thousands of them participate in scientific research, teaching, and cultural and artistic activities.

Dr. Nguyen Hai Huu, vice president of the Vietnam Association for Vocational Educational Training and Social Work, said that the elderly hold a special position in the labour market because they possess good work experience and skills that have been accumulated over time.

“Elderly workers also have a better sense of compliance and understanding of the law and are less prone to occupational accidents,” Huu said. “It is also easier to reach employment agreements in this group than in other groups. Many businesses say that the demand for elderly workers will increase in the future.”

Although accounting for an increasing proportion in the labour market, the elderly workforce is also easily forgotten, lacking recruitment information and supporting policies.

It is not always easy for the elderly to find suitable jobs when a dedicated labour market for this group has not yet been formed. Most elderly people with job needs today are looking for jobs through the recommendations of acquaintances and friends, so the opportunity to find a job suitable for their health is not strong.

On today’s recruitment websites, recruiters often look for people aged 18-35 years old. For workers 50 and over, jobs found are mainly security guards and domestic helpers, while those aged 60 and older have almost no jobs that need to be recruited through official channels. According to data from MoLISA, out of 10 elderly workers in urban areas, seven are working in the informal sector in tough roles with low incomes.

Many countries around the world have stronger policies to create jobs for the elderly. Japan, known for its aged population, set up 1,300 job placement centres across the country decades ago in preparation and charged only a very small fee from those who applied for a job. These centres introduced simple jobs with short working hours for elderly people and are responsible for paying insurance premiums to members.

Many older people have lost their livelihoods and incomes have decreased significantly in recent years. Therefore, the promotion of entrepreneurship for them is being set as a task to both ensure the right to work of this group of workers and take advantage of their experience to ensure the goal of social security.

Vice chairman of the Vietnam Association of the Elderly, Nguyen Hoa Binh said, “We are currently focusing on researching and proposing amendments and supplements to policies on laws and mechanisms for the elderly to suit the ageing population of the country.”

By Thai An

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