OCBC was supposed to be announcing exciting news today. As Singapore’s second-largest lender, they have decided to expand research into Hong Kong. Which is all well and good except for the hiring approach of its Head of Research Carmen Lee.
According to reports, Lee had “undertaken the unconventional approach of relying more on younger analysts”. She prides her team of analysts to be under an average age of 30.
“Younger researchers are more willing to take on new ideas, and are also less attached to “core old economy stocks like banking, manufacturing, conglomerates,” she said.
“With young analysts, I find that they’re very enthusiastic,” Lee said. “They’re fantastic with computers, they’re fantastic with presentation. Older analysts tend to be very fixated about certain areas.”
I find this sort of attitude, comment and blatant discrimination on grounds where one cannot control to be very unfortunate. In a world where modern diets, science and advances in technology have extended our lives considerably (Singaporeans now have an average lifespan of 80, as compared to 60 several decades back), people can…and want to be able to contribute and earn a keep for as long as they are able.
Lee is implying older workers are poor with computers, presentation, unenthusiastic and attached to old ideas. This is the sort of stereotype societies all over the world is trying to shake off.
Her statements would have landed her in trouble with the law in countries that enforce equality.
Singapore is working hard at improving the nation’s perception of mature workers. TAFEP has been releasing campaigns, laws have been amended to increase the retirement age to allow workers to chose their own retirement, there have been campaigns led by newspapers to counter ageism and a lot of hard work by the government to encourage companies to keep an open mind.
Attitudes such as the OCBC’s Carmen Lee is rude, discriminatory and unwelcome.