Workers aged 40 to 45 should prepare to work until the age of 65 instead of retiring at the age of 62, Manpower Minister Gan Kim Yong said yesterday.

Outreach efforts to boost re-employment will start by encouraging younger workers to adopt a healthy lifestyle and a positive work attitude, he said.

The Tripartite Implementation Workgroup, formed under the Tripartite Committee on Employability of Older Workers, will start a promotional campaign later this week to raise awareness among employers and employees of the need to be ready for re-employment.

It will be one of the three prongs in the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) approach to persuade more mature employees to remain in or rejoin the workforce, Mr Gan said. This is part of the Government’s plan to make re-employment of older workers mandatory by 2012.

The second prong will involve training and upgrading older workers through schemes like the Workfare Training Scheme introduced in February, which helps defray costs of training older workers.

Lastly, MOM will get firms to use the Advantage! Scheme launched in June 2007, which helps to redesign jobs and workplaces for mature workers, and provides firms with funds to adopt age-friendly practices.

Mr Gan said he is optimistic about raising the employment rate of older workers, judging by how it had remained constant throughout the recession.

The ministry’s Labour Force Survey found that the employment rate of Singaporeans aged 55 to 64 stayed at 57.2 per cent from 2008 to last year.

“Many of them are quite keen to stay in the workforce...but they face hurdles, including the need for more flexible work arrangements,” he said.

“Having left the workforce for a while, they may not be familiar with the working environment or the latest practices in the labour market.”

They can attend a familiarisation course launched by the Workforce Development Agency in 2008 to ease into the job market, he said.