Strategy to address brain drain challenge

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Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Viliame Gavoka at the coalition thanksgiving church service. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Increasing the retirement age from 55 to 60 is one way to address Fiji’s loss of skilled workers, says Deputy Prime Minister Viliame Gavoka.

While speaking to Nadi business owners recently, he said it was almost criminal that people were made to retire by 55 when they still had a lot to contribute to their employers.

“We know that we are losing our people,” he said.

“We will be injecting a lot more effort into our institutions to train a lot more people.

“That is the long term plan but if you need to bring in people from the outside to work for you we will consider it.

“However, we are also the lifting the retirement age from 55 to 60.

“Hopefully that can help bridge some of these shortfalls in the younger population.

“To retire somebody at 55 it’s almost criminal.

“People are healthier these days and so we will be immediately increasing the retirement age from 55 to 60.”

He said Fijians in the tourism industry with the wealth of experience should be allowed to work until 60.

“I spoke with somebody from the Food and Beverage department that are chefs who retired at 55 who have said they are willing to come back to work.

“They have a wealth of experience that still has a lot to contribute.

“So that is a segment that has been retired too early in our books and also if need be we can bring in outsiders to come and help fill the gap.”

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