Retirees don’t have a use-by date

Image: XiXinXing/Bigstock.com

While visiting a relative in hospital recently, I was told that the husband of one of the nurses would love to have kept working but, ‘He was 65 and he couldn’t get a job.’ Anecdotally, such a comment isn’t unusual. It’s frustrating, and in an age of information overload, it can be difficult for many older people to see the options.

One organisation helping to address the needs of older workers is SilverTemp, founded by Art Beavis. SilverTemp operates from the Northern Rivers and Tweed Valley region of New South Wales.

Art’s motto is ‘people don’t have a use-by date’ and SilverTemp is an ‘innovative agency dedicated to placing senior people in temporary, part-time, or casual employment’.

Art was previously the International Manager for Australia’s largest macadamia processor and export marketer. He noticed that the retired people he met weren’t necessarily enjoying their retirement and would like some sort of work.

‘Everybody has different skill sets, and all kinds of people like to do different things,’ he says.

He started out by leaving a flyer in letterboxes in the region, asking people who were retired, semi-retired, or retrenched to register their interest if they wanted to do some part-time work. Art was astounded that within 10 days there were 60 inquiries. SilverTemp was born.

Establishing such an agency hasn’t been without frustrations. However, he’s found that meeting so many interesting and interested seniors who want to keep on contributing is inspiring. Feedback from employers is also encouraging.

Art has found that people don’t necessarily want to do the same sort of work they have done, and many embrace a change. He has been able to place accountants, desktop publishers, warehouse workers, teachers, and town planners in a variety of work situations.

‘Seniors want to work,’ says Art. The advantages, he says, include their strong work ethic, their punctuality and focus, their experience, initiative, flexibility, getting the job done in less time, feedback, and willingness to share positive experiences. And, as a bonus, they’re usually good mentors.

Many seniors want to work a few days a week, according to Art. He recognises that seniors don’t necessarily want to be working the hours they had previously. Retired people want to ‘wind back, but not grind to a full stop’.

Having part-time or casual work in retirement is part of a ‘portfolio’ lifestyle. Leisure pursuits, volunteering, spending time with friends and family, and travelling are also part of the retirement ‘pie’. Retirees are an untapped resource who can bring skills, experience, and wisdom to an employer.

Recently Art contacted me to let me know that he’s ‘actively seeking seniors in regional areas who might be interested in starting a branch of SilverTemp’. For more details, see the SilverTemp website.

Jill Weeks is the author of 21 Ways to Retire and co-author of Where to Retire In Australia and Retire Bizzi. She’s a regular contributor to ABC radio.

Category: Working

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