Charlie Mullins: Age ain’t nothing but a number when it comes to older workers

The Intern, which follows a 70 year-old looking to get back into the world of work, immediately caught my eye when I spotted the line “experience never gets old” – I couldn’t agree more. 

At Pimlico we embrace older workers, because at the end of the day, age is only a number. If you’ve got the drive and determination to get out of bed on a morning and put in a hard day’s graft then you’re more than welcome to join our ranks.

My PA, Mario, is two years older than De Niro’s character at 72 – and I promise you he’s fitter, faster and more enthusiastic than most whipper snappers. A couple of years ago he competed in the Marathon des Sables, a six-day ultra-marathon in the Sahara Desert, where those brave enough to enter carry a back pack weighing up to 12kg in 100 degree Fahrenheit temperatures.

Obviously, not everyone’s going to be quite as active as Mario at that age, but older workers bring with them priceless experience, reliability and loyalty – just look at my chauffeur, Eric.

I’ve lost count of how long 85 year-old Eric has been with us, but there is no one I would trust more to skilfully manoeuvre his way through rush hour traffic in my Bentley. He’s always punctual, rarely has a day off and to be honest, is a great guy in general.

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Whilst on the subject of older workers, I couldn’t miss the chance to mention Pimlico legend, Buster, who was once crowned “Britain’s oldest worker” and worked until he sadly passed away aged 104. 

Coincidently, the launch of The Intern was on the same week as International Day of Older Persons – although maybe I’m not giving the film’s marketing team the credit they deserve as it was more likely in fact a masterfully timed plan.

When you look at the UK’s workforce demographics, there are almost eight million people working that are aged between 50-64, and an additional one million over the retirement age of 65.

Long gone are the days when you cruised towards your retirement date, longing for a more peaceful life. Guys like Eric and Mario relish the challenges and continue to make significant contributions toward our economy and the development of our younger generations.

However there is still a lot of work to do on changing the perception of older workers and employer’s attitude towards them. As we all know, in the future people will have to keep on working way past the traditional retirement age. The state pension age is due to increase to 67 by 2028, and future rises would be linked to life expectancy.

Business of all sizes would do well to celebrate older workers and all that they bring, there really is no substitute for experience. Just remember, you’ll have time to rest when you’re dead, and yes, to paraphrase De Niro, “I’m talking to you”.

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