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Not Dead Yet

In previous blogs, I have focused on the importance of reaching out to young people and schools.

And it was correct to do so, as young people will dictate what the future of Hospitality will look like.

But what about NOW, what about the present?

That's where we would be wise as an industry to look at hiring older or more mature people.

Stop Seeing The Wrinkles, Hire The Human

As Jill Whittaker, Managing Director of Hit Training, said in a recent episode of Timothy put the Kettel on : Talking Hospitality podcast:

"[T]he best thing that employers can do is just open their eyes to the human, and stop seeing the the wrinkles. So that every person under the age of 18, every person over the age of 50, and everybody in between. [The question to ask is] What is it that they are going to bring with them into your workplace?"

In other words, how will that individual benefit your work place, not how many years they have or haven't been on this planet.

In the same episode, Jill reveals that she has a client who always says

"I don't care how old you are, it doesn't matter to me when you come for the job."

She reveals that her client recruits less for the skillsets that they need, but more for the correct attitude.

Skills, she argues, can be trained.

Attitude cannot.

She continues:

"Skills are not an issue. Come to me with the right attitude. A smile on your face and an ethic that says, I'm going to do, I'm going to work hard while I'm with you, and we will have a job for you."

Ageism Is Not Just Reserved For The Over 50s

I recently experienced ageism during an interview process, and this was something I always thought would be reserved for the over 50s.

As someone who is hurtling towards the big "five-oh" (at the time of writing) this subject has been weighing heavily on my mind and is a source of concern to me.

With, at the time of writing, 149,000 vacancies UK wide in Hospitality we have a serious staff shortage (slightly over 1 in 9 jobs)

Hiring Older People In Hospitality Can Be A Win-Win

So, for all you doubters out there that think young is the only solution, here are my 5 top reasons why, as an industry, we should look at hiring more mature people.

1. Wisdom & Experience

Picture this – you're working at a bustling hotel, and a sudden situation arises that requires quick thinking and problem-solving skills. Who would you want by your side? An older individual who has weathered various storms, faced numerous challenges, and acquired wisdom along the way or someone who is not yet equipped to deal with the situation?

Older people bring a wealth of experience to the table, which is incredibly valuable in a dynamic and fast-paced industry like hospitality.

2. Customer Service

One of the key ingredients in the hospitality recipe is exceptional customer service. It is of no secret that there is great concern relating to the standards of customer service post-lockdown for a number of reasons. These include the rise of social media interactions (as opposed to "real" life), the lack of education and social skills development as a result of lockdowns to name but two. I hope to look at this in a future blog.

Older individuals often possess remarkable interpersonal skills honed over the years. Their ability to empathise, listen attentively, and communicate effectively can leave a lasting impression on guests.

Plus, their life experiences often equip them with a unique perspective that adds an extra touch of warmth and understanding in their interactions.

3. Reliability & Maturity

As we grow older, our priorities and responsibilities tend to evolve. This transition is reflected in our work ethic.

Older people often exhibit a high level of professionalism, dedication, and reliability. They understand the importance of being punctual, meeting deadlines, and taking their commitments seriously.

These qualities make them a reliable asset for any hospitality establishment.

4. Adaptability & Flexibility

The hospitality industry is known for its ever-changing nature. It requires individuals who can adapt swiftly to new situations and remain calm under pressure.

Older people, tend to have faced numerous transitions in their lives, and so have developed a remarkable ability to embrace change.

Their adaptability and flexibility can help them seamlessly navigate the unpredictable waters of the hospitality world.

5. Mentorship & Training

Older employees can act as mentors, sharing their knowledge and expertise with younger staff members.

Their mentorship can be immensely valuable in grooming the next generation of hospitality professionals. It creates a nurturing environment where skills and insights are passed down, fostering a sense of camaraderie and professional growth.

In Conclusion

Embracing a diverse workforce that includes individuals of different ages ensures a vibrant and harmonious environment where everyone can learn from each other.

Remember, age is just a number, and the magic happens when people from different walks of life come together to create something extraordinary.

Attitude is more important than skills in many cases. Skills can be taught, correct attitude cannot.

Let's celebrate the richness of experience that older people can bring to the table and toast to a future where all generations can thrive in the world of hospitality.

As Jill Whittaker put it in the podcast, stop counting the wrinkles - see the human.

"See the human, don't see the wrinkles"

Cheers to that!


To listen to the interview and discussion with Jill Whittaker about hiring people of different ages, and the challenges around that please check out the podcast here.


For training on the subject of this and other diversity issues, please visit our e-learning page for these

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