Seniors want to continue working after retirement
She says: “I don’t want to be a housewife. I’m still healthy and I want to contribute to society. My age does not allow me to continue working as an elementary school teacher, so I have found other jobs that are suitable for older people.”
She works as a life insurance salesman and packer, and although the jobs don’t pay well, she’s content.
“I pack handkerchiefs and am happy when I’ve used up a pack. They give me 5,000 VND (0.21 USD) for 100 packs. A bowl of Hu Tieu (Vietnamese noodles) costs at least VND 30,000. That means I have to use up 600 packs to buy one bowl of Hu Tieu. But I can make up to 1,000 packs a day.”
She earns VND 50,000 a day, not enough to meet her basic needs, but she enjoys her work.
“I don’t want to be a bird trapped in a cage. I want to ‘fly’, work in an appropriate and comfortable environment and interact with people.”
Phuong gave birth to her first child at 40 and, at 60, still worries about her children who are studying at university.
“I have a pension and savings, but I will work until I am no longer able to.”
Many others who have reached retirement age feel similarly and are mentally and physically fit enough to work, and being employed gives them a sense of optimism and activity.
At 63, Hong continues to work as a technical clerk. He says there’s no reason for him to stay home if his company wants to hire him.
“My boss encourages me to keep working instead of staying at home alone and bored. I think I’m still able to do my job, even better. Firstly because when I was younger I didn’t have a healthy and balanced lifestyle like now, on weekends I would often drink with my friends, but now I don’t, I have more time for sports in the evenings too.
Second, it’s because I no longer have to shoulder the burden of my family expenses. As a result, I feel more relaxed and comfortable in my work than before. The job now helps me stay healthy and have a stable income.”
Hong thinks about the future and even plans to run his own business when the company stops hiring him.
“When I was young, I worked as a mechanic. I am considering doing an electrician apprenticeship and then I will run my own business with the support of some family members.”
Many families send their children to their grandparents for care, but Hong believes it is his children’s responsibility to look after their children.
“I don’t want to depend on my kids all day or babysit our grandkids. I tell my children to take their children to kindergarten and to visit us on the weekends. I want them to understand how difficult it is to raise a child.”
He encourages his wife, who is also retired, to open a coffee shop so she can keep herself busy.
Nam Giau, who receives a pension of VND3.3 million a month, works as a part-time security guard. Concerned about his health in old age, he wants to earn some extra money to set aside so he doesn’t have to depend on his children.
“This job earns me VND 4-5 million a month. I work eight hours a day. It’s not hard work. My job is to guard the gate and welcome guests. I don’t want to retire at that age go. I want to work until I’m not healthy enough to get a job.”
There are currently about 12.58 million people over the age of 60 in Vietnam and this number is growing rapidly.
The number is expected to reach 18 million by 2030, which is 17.5% of the population.
says Le Quang Trung, former head of the Labor Department of the Ministry of Labour, Disability and Social Welfare
Vietnam is in a time when labor supply is less than demand.
In 2014, around 1.2 million people reached working age and entered the labor market. Currently, that number is 400,000.
dr Bui Sy Loi, former vice chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee on Cultural and Social Affairs, says the need for post-retirement employment is a reality that needs to be recognised.
Many seniors are healthy and able to work and can meet the demands of the labor market, he says.
Currently, about 60% of people continue to work after retirement and need access to job information and capital, he says.
Creating jobs for seniors after retirement brings both economic and social benefits.
according to dr Giang Thanh Long, director of the Institute of Public Policy & Management at National Economics University, job creation for seniors is a social problem in many countries, especially in countries with rapidly aging populations. Vietnam shares many similarities with these countries and can learn from their experiences, he says.
“The fact is that seniors still contribute a lot to society. We must avoid discriminating against them and not thinking that they ‘can’t do anything’. This mindset needs to change.
However, we should not wait until people reach retirement age to equip them with skills.
“You cannot learn and adapt in a short period of time.”
He says there is a need to learn from other countries in the region, such as Japan, Korea, Singapore and Thailand, that support middle-aged people, not just the elderly.
They organize free training to help people learn about technology, which is necessary to adapt to many job needs, he says.
“In the short term, we need to implement policies and monitoring programs for seniors to best support them in their current jobs.”