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Following the Ministry of Manpower’s announcement to increase the age of re-employment of older workers to 67, more seniors in Singapore have started pursuing higher studies to boost their skills and remain employable.
The JobsCentral Learning Survey Report 2014 found a whopping 247% rise in interest in pursuing a diploma from respondents aged 60 and above – a 2.5 fold increase since 2013.
Polling more than 3,000 Singaporeans, the survey found 26% of respondents were keen on diploma studies in 2014, an 8% rise from 2013.
Interest in postgraduate studies as a whole was also found to be at its highest in five years – climbing from 37% in 2010 and 42% in 2013 to 48% this year.
More than half (53%) of those aged under 30 have also indicated an interest to pursue a postgraduate degree, up from 43% in 2013.
“More people are heeding the call to improve themselves academically, with the government encouraging organisations and the older workforce to retain their employability through upgrading,” Jessica Ang, strategic marketing director of CareerBuilder Singapore, said.
“This corresponds with the growing trend of continuous improvement via better paper qualifications. Working adults may feel that equipping themselves with a diploma could open the doors to a promotion, or are taking the opportunity to study when they may not have had the chance to do when they were younger”.
Career-related reasons were largely cited as the main driving force to further their studies. Of these respondents, 21% listed career advancement as the key reason for continued studies, followed by employability improvement (17%), and prospect of switching industry (8%).
Other motivations for pursuing higher education included self-improvement (20%) and personal interest (13%).
Almost nine out of 10 (87%) of respondents also stated they expect a growth in salary upon receiving their qualification, with 27% and 26% looking to receive an increase between 30 – 59% and below 30% respectively.
“Overall, more people are viewing receiving higher education as significant, and consider it important to career advancement,” Ang stated.
“This is especially prevalent in adult learners, who may also see an education upgrade as essential in keeping up with their younger co-workers. With the numerous government subsidies and grants available, many who were not financially able to continue their studies previously may take the chance to do so now.”