#TECH: Opportunities after retirement

Work recruitment website Hire Seniors’ founder tells why hiring seniors is not a bad thing after all

THERE will come a time when people have to retire from their jobs. However, not all senior employees are ready to let go of their working life.

Former strategic consultant Jasmin Amirul Ghani, 48, believes that working after retirement should be encouraged.

After all, it was the very reason why she quit the corporate world and started Hire Seniors, a job-seeking website that helps seniors aged 50 and above to find jobs.

SOLVING A PROBLEM

Jasmin started Hire Seniors three years ago after witnessing how the workforce veterans struggled to find a workplace that would accept them.

“I always wondered what would happen after I retire. I asked my husband if there is a place that would hire me because I surely don’t want to sit and do nothing.”

To date, the Hire Seniors website has garnered more than 6,000 senior jobseekers who are actively searching for a place to sustain their living.

At a glance, Hire Seniors is no different from other recruitment sites, where thousands of jobseekers throng to in search of jobs.

Despite having the same objective as other recruitment sites, Hire Seniors is different as the site accepts résumés only from those aged 50 and above.

THE DIFFERENCE

The candidates will have to upload their résumés, and Jasmin said the process may be slightly awkward as most users have not updated their résumés for a long time.

“Their resume writing skills are a bit rusty and may need as much help as they can get. So we offer them that service,” she said.

Hiring seniors is more complex compared with employing younger, less-experienced candidates simply because most of them are more than qualified with years of experience.

“Imagine a senior accountant who is looking for a job to continue his daily routine and to keep himself abreast of the current requirements as an accountant.

“Despite possessing the experience, knowledge and also being a retiree from a senior position, he is open for a junior accountant’s position. Why?

“The main reason is not related to the work he used to do, but rather to keep one’s mind active, keep practising a trade and, at the same time, make some money to support himself.

“Firstly, in seeking a job, one will search common job sites where employers already state age and other requirements and this makes it difficult for seniors to find positions.

“Of course, potential employers will see age as a red flag as experience equals money and position. But for seniors, they may be looking for something that is simpler and less demanding than the job they’ve retired from.

“This is where we come in. Our job requires more than just sitting and letting the résumé work because résumés could be the very thing that come in between a job and a senior candidate.

“We will speak to potential employers. We encourage them to share with us the reasons why they feel certain candidates are not suitable for the position. And the most common excuse we get is that they are overqualified.

“Then we will encourage them to enter a trial period with potential employees and make them understand that these people are looking for a job to either keep themselves busy, or to not be dependent on others, and a minimum wage would be sufficient for them as they are not looking at climbing the career ladder.

“Unlike young candidates, these people do come with added value, their years of experience. We always tell them it is value for money,” said Jasmin.

BUMPY ROAD

Having older candidates competing against younger ones in the job market may not seem right, said Jasmin.

However, she believes that the two generations deserve equal chance as their motivation in looking for a job is different.

Caution and fear have been the two things that usually make job matching for senior candidates hard, not because of the employees, but rather the employers’ wary attitude.

“We often get rejection notices because employers have undue worries. Experienced candidates do offer some level of intimidation, especially when the company is not ready to ‘pay’ more.

“This is what makes it more difficult for senior jobseekers to enter the workforce and will continue to be a hindrance,” said Jasmin, adding that some employers are open to suggestions, but others are not.

Team Hire Seniors, when faced with such a situation, will get employers to see the bigger picture, which are the benefits of hiring older people.

BRIGHTER FUTURE

Operating from an office in Kelana Jaya, Jasmin and her team have been teaming up with KWAP, the country’s largest public services pension fund, to find job opportunities for retired civil servants.

Activity Centre for Older Persons, or PAWE (under the Social Welfare Department), has also collaborated with Hire Seniors to provide training and courses for potential jobseekers.

“These collaborations show how we are becoming more open about hiring seniors with experience. This, too, means that more seniors will get the opportunity to continue working and be able to sustain themselves,” said Jasmin.

Source: NST