Chiu is the analysis of discriminatory attitudes

Chiu et al. (2001) used
quantitative and qualitative questionnaire to compared age stereotypes among
567 (aged 23 to 48) respondents in UK and Hong Kong in how stereotypes relate
to discriminatory attitudes at work towards older adults. Stereotypical beliefs
were found to affect respondent’s attitudes towards training, promotion and
retention of older workers. The findings also suggested that anti-age discrimination
policies in respondents’ organisation had positive impact on beliefs about the adaptability
of older workers and possibly also on attitudes towards training them. One
limitation is the analysis of discriminatory attitudes using single-item
measure, which increases the likelihood of measurement error. Future research
needs to use reliable multi item measures of discriminatory attitudes. 

McVittie (2001) studied the practice of
age discrimination of older workers by using qualitative method of discourse
analysis to analyse data collected from interviews with employers and older
jobseekers and written equal policies of employers. Although employers claimed
to be fair in employment opportunities, the interviews revealed that age
discrimination persists, not only cognitive biases of employers, but through
discriminatory social practices and every interaction that are consistent with
previous research, despite measures
of diversity and equal opportunities in employment being promoted by the UK
Government to address age discrimination in the workplace.

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In addition, Loretto, Duncan
and White (2000) conducted a survey of 460 Business students (age 17 to 29
years) concerning age and employment, and a majority of respondents favoured
the introduction of legislative protection against age discrimination regardless
of age. A significant proportion of the respondents who had past or current
employment experience reported to have been victims of age discrimination in employment,
in terms of negative attitudes, low wages and less responsibility in terms of job
deployment towards them. Those who have faced ageism were more supportive of an
inclusive approach to tackling ageism in employment.

In Singapore, Shantakumar’s
study (1999) used secondary analysis and found that most of the elderly did not
seek employment and hence there was a low proportion of older workers in
employment. Amongst the employed, 51% had no education, 15% had secondary
education. 84% had continued working after retirement. Older workers would seek
retirement employment if they possessed relevant qualifications, but issues of
social security such as high living and medical costs deplete their CPF
savings, and the elderly cannot afford to exit labour force, but to seek for
reemployment, but most were however offered low paying jobs. He argued that the
government must entice elderly to re-enter the workforce to combat ageing
population e.g. extending retirement age, retraining of older workers, and the
empowerment of older workers to fight ageism through legislation.

Walker (1999) used
case studies to observe and emphasised on good practices within organisations and
essential factors that lead to successful policies to counteract ageism in the
workforce. He highlighted that combating age barriers in job recruitment and
training, introduction of good practices into organizations e.g. supportive HR
environment, flexible and careful implementation of practices that enables open
and constant communication, provides education and consciousness amongst
managers about attitudes and beliefs about the elderly. However, initiatives must
be careful not to target elderly which might lead to stigmatisation. Holistic
approach designed to prevent occurrence of age discrimination, unemployment and
age management problems. This benefits organisations, not just the older
workers, especially when facing aging population.


Lee (1999) highlights
findings using secondary analysis and argued that the legislation of employment
practices reflects the government’s view of the elderly as less productive,
dependent, and a financial burden which legitimizes the marginalization of the
elderly in Singapore. By raising the retirement age, the government compensate
employers hiring older workers by permitting older workers to be given lower
wages, fewer fringe benefits, and shorter wage scales, and to make reduced CPF
contributions. The findings found that there were implications which
discourages elderly in participating in the labour force as there was a decrease
of elderly working, and most who were working were in low-paying and only a
small percentage had higher skilled jobs.

Lyon and Pollard
(1997) conducted a survey in the UK with 221 MBA (Master of Business
Administration) students using closed questionnaire and found that the students
generally held less favourable perceptions of older workers, ascribing less-desirable
attitudes and behaviours to older workers. The survey highlighted that majority
of the respondents agreed that the acceptance of new technology and adaption to
change were a general “weak point” of older employees. The authors argued that
legislation is needed to break discriminatory practices and treatment.


Yaw (1996) evaluated
the Singaporean government’s attempt to tackle ageism in the workplace through secondary
analysis. Although the government urged to raise retirement age voluntarily,
the response was poor. It is found that employers resisted the extension of the
retirement age due to the negative perceptions and stereotypes of older
workers. Employment and retainment of the older workers are seen as expensive,
unsuited for strenuous jobs and less productive. Thus, the government passed
the Retirement Age Act in 1993 to tackle age discrimination in employment. Yaw
(1996) proposed that a broader legislation may be required in the future as the
policy was directed at unreasonable or unfair discharge of employees based
solely on age. There is no protection for older workers in terms of recruitment,
promotion, training and compensation.


Additionally, Tan’s
article (1996) also reviewed the current issues of age discrimination in the workforce
in Singapore with secondary analysis. It is found that employers perceive older
workers as less productive and more expensive unless the wage system can be
modified so that their business can remain cost-effective when compared to younger
competitors. They felt that older workers are paid beyond their job’s worth,
but few are willing to take a pay cut. With the influx of migrant workers,
employers are more willing to hire foreign labour as they are cost-effective
and efficient. He urged the need for older workers to be retrained to upgrade
their skills are solutions to enhance their employability.


Furthermore, Teo (1994)
assessed the strengths and weaknesses of national policy on elderly in terms of
employment using secondary analysis. Although the introduction of flexi-work
and policies such as The Skills Development Fund retrains staff to help older
workers keep up with technology, there is a notion that older workers are less
dexterous and flexible in the workforce. It is found that 60% of the older
workers (above age 55) are given lower wages. Teo (1994) argued that while the Singapore
government is trying to protect elderly people, the national policy contains
contradictions that work against rather
than for them.


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