IN A tight labour market, coupled with longer life expectancies, employers will have their fair share of older workers ("Beyond competence, towards mastery of skills"; last Saturday).

We need to encourage employers to tap the skills of their older workers.

Theoretical and empirical research refutes the belief that age affects job performance, and affirms the value of more work experience.

Surveys of employers overseas also show that they admire older workers for their loyalty, experience and dependability. Yet their concerns about these workers include obsolescent skills, lack of creativity and resistance to change.

To overcome these potential downsides, employers can show more care and concern for older workers and engage them in collaborative learning and improvement.

By deepening older workers' commitment and support, employers can unleash their creative and innovative potential.

We should learn from Finland, which encourages increased training of ageing workers and changes to the work environment to adapt to their needs.

Our Government can offer targeted incentives to motivate employers to groom older workers and enrich their job scopes, including developing flexi-work arrangements.

Subsidies can be provided to employers to develop work environments conducive to older workers, and organise health and wellness programmes for them.

These will not only boost their productive lives but also enhance their performance and contributions.