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Still-swinging sixties must spread the word

Published on Friday, 07 Dec 2012
Sharmini Thomas

After 30 years of managerial level roles in a number of international publishing groups, I changed my career five years ago to focus on teaching and became a lecturer in business administration and marketing. However, I had to retire last November after hitting 60, even though I had helped students win a number of open academic contests.

I have since tried, but failed, to find a part-time teaching job. I have been interviewed by a couple of universities where things went well until we reached the topic of “60”, at which point it seemed I was blocked from proceeding any further.

Do you think this spells the end for my professional career? I’m still confident in accepting challenges, energetic, and creative enough to make contributions. Compensation is not a prime concern. What advice can you give me? JL

There is currently no mandatory age for retirement in Hong Kong. However, many professionals at the same stage of their life and career as you choose to focus on enjoying the fruits of their labour rather than continuing to work. For those who do carry on working, there is no obvious trend of being offered more full-time work rather than part-time roles, or vice versa.

You make a very good point that key to a candidate’s success is their attitude, motivation, contribution and relevant work experience for the advertised position. While companies do not typically restrict their decision to hire a candidate based on age, some roles that may require a great deal of flexibility or physical commitment will obviously be relatively off limits.

My advice to you is to be positive and focus on finding the right opportunity that suits your skills and the employer’s needs. Focus on applying for positions that are aligned with what you have done recently, because you have experience in this area and employers within this field are more likely to be interested in your skill set.

Also, spread the word that you are looking for a new position. Hong Kong is a highly networked market and you  may find your next role could come from a friend, a past boss or just someone you happen to meet at a social event.

Sharmini Thomas is regional director of Michael Page’s Financial Services, Sales and Marketing, and Procurement and Supply Chain teams in Hong Kong. Michael Page is part of PageGroup, one of the world’s leading recruitment companies operating in 164 offices in 34 countries worldwide.

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