The Blog

The Intern

The release of the film The Intern has raised some eyebrows - in a good way.

For many people seeing the film posters, the wrong assumption is that Anne Hathaway has been cast as Robert De Niro's intern. Playing with our perceptions makes us do a double-take and challenges the way we see older people in the workplace.

Without revealing the best bits, once a few social and technological boundaries have been navigated, the stereotypes fall away and the staff at the company realise the value an older person can bring to a business.

My own experience tells me this shouldn't come as a surprise. We shouldn't write people off at work just because they are a bit older. A change of career in later life may mean a few new things to learn but older workers bring a wealth of experience and knowledge.

Any suggestion that older people are a burden on society paints an unfair and inaccurate picture of reality. Many older people want to continue working into their 60s and beyond. And the benefits that older workers bring to employers and the economy are well documented. If every older worker stayed in the workplace for an extra three years as much as £55bn a year would be added to the UK economy according to figures released by Pensions Minister Ros Altmann earlier this year.

It would not only be wrong to judge someone based on their age. It would also be a missed opportunity for employers. I know first-hand that a retired nurse such as Ann Headland adds so much value to our care homes and is a hugely valued asset at Anchor. An expert in healthcare with a passion for working with older people, at 69 years of age, Ann's experience is shared throughout her team, benefits residents and enables her to continue to do what she enjoys.

At Anchor, we are recruiting to our care homes, retirement housing and new retirement villages and see many opportunities to reap the benefits of decades of experience. All employers should seize the opportunities with both hands. Demographics suggest it's an issue that's not going away.

The Office for National Statistics predicts that there will be 3.7 million more workers aged between 50 and state pension age over the next decade. During the same period, there will be 700,000 fewer working people aged between 16 and 41.

As in the film, we need to sweep the stereotypes and misconceptions aside and learn to value what older people bring to the workplace.

Popular in the Community