Living Stronger - Working Longer

Written on the 22 July 2016 by Melva Stone

Living Stronger - Working Longer According to the United Nations, very soon every fifth person in the world will be over sixty years of age. In a world where economies are struggling to come to grips with how to deal with the huge financial burdens of an ageing population, the employment of older workers is taking a high priority with governments globally.  Our own Federal Government's "Restart" grants initiative and recent "Willing to Work" report are evidence of this. The website has been set up to connect older job seekers with potential employers.

It is also a well-known fact that people facing retirement can also be faced with severe depression and other health issues.  In fact, the book "Avoid Retirement and Stay Alive" draws attention to the fact that income is not the only reason people choose to stay at work the likes of Rupert Murdoch, Bill Gates and Hilary Clinton could, no doubt afford to retire! However, money is not the only motivation for people to remain at work.

Recently I had the opportunity to discuss the issue of work later in life with Carol Parnell, who works as a Breakfast Host in the Holiday Inn, Heathrow arguably one of Holiday Inn's busiest locations.  Having observed Carol at work, I was intrigued by her positive attitude and clear dedication to her work. I spoke to Carol and her manager with a view to writing this article.

Carol is 75 years of age and has worked for Holiday Inns for over 40 years progressing from a part-time housekeeper, to housekeeping manager, a role in administration and then on to her current position, which she has held since 2007. Her working day starts at 6am and ends at 11am, five days per week. Voluntary work has also been a big part of Carol's life. She gave freely of her time to a local school and at one point, Carol became School Governor.

Of her younger colleagues, Carol says, "they are very respectful" - and she clearly earns that respect. Guests also respond well to Carol. One guest recently wrote a two-page letter, complimenting her and the hotel on her attitude. At the monthly staff reward lunches, Carol is always on the list of invitees.

Carol has watched many of her friends go into depression after retirement and she is doing her best to stay engaged, active and a valued member of the team she works with. To put it in Carol's own words, "Work can be preventative medicine, can't it?"

Whilst it is clear that suitable roles are needed for this group of workers, and our increased use of new technology one of the main hurdles, a little thought and lateral thinking can pay big dividends. Tawna Kinnear, Senior Recruitment Consultant from Pindan Labour Solutions, is familiar with the benefits of hiring senior recruits.

"You can't replicate life experience, and that is something an older candidate brings to a workplace. The older generations of employees also tend to be far more reliable than their juniors, which makes a huge impact on a business' daily operations. General enthusiasm to work also tends to set them apart."

In short there are numerous advantages of hiring from the older generation and the benefits of working longer speak for themselves. "Use it or lose it".

Author:Melva Stone

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