Priyanka Gothi’s mother, a former teacher, retired at 60. Knowing that she still had the ability to work, Gothi tried to help her find another job. But she found that there were only very few employers who were willing to hire her mother because of her age.
The experience inspired Gothi, a digital marketer in India, to build a job matching platform aimed at helping other elderly people pursue a second career after their retirement.
Later, Gothi came to Hong Kong with her husband, and she found Hong Kong an ideal location to set up a platform for elderly job seekers. So this was where she launched “Retired Not Out” in June last year, a job search website targeting retired professionals over the age of 50.
According to statistics from Hong Kong’s population by-census in 2016, the city’s elderly population has risen to 16 percent, with the working population aged 65 or above doubling in the last ten years. The city’s population enjoys the longest life expectancy in the world. The average lifespan for women in Hong Kong is 87.34 years, while for men the average is 81.32 years.
“Hong Kong people, in general, have a high education level, and there is a large pool of retired professionals in the city who can still bring their rich experience to help businesses to grow,” Gothi said.
The platform offers companies a pool of elderly professionals with experience in finance, accounting, law, human resources, education and various other fields.
It now has over 500 users, with corporations including insurance giant AIA Group, Li & Fung Group, and startups such as Dragon Law.
Gothi said most of the retired professionals who want to return to the workplace are aiming for a sense of satisfaction – not for the money but for sustenance for life. On the other hand, businesses can recruit senior professionals at a lower cost, say, a salary less than 30 percent of the market price.
She also points out that hiring senior employees can bring a change in thinking in the company, which is particularly beneficial to startups with small capital and less experience.
“Nearly 99 percent of employees in startups are young people. Just as traditional companies need young talents and fresh ideas, innovative and new companies also need access to experienced minds,” said Gothi.
Gothi said many elders are actually afraid to return to the workplace, worrying that they are unable to do their jobs. “In the digital age, many elderly people are not familiar with new digital tools at work, say, Google Calendar, cloud storage, and search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, etc.”
Therefore, the “Retired Not Out” platform offers IT courses for retired elders to use LinkedIn, Google Drive, etc., to help them catch up with the digital world.
Asked about the business model of the platform, Gothi said it charges companies a job posting fee, which is about half of the market price, and the companies will only pay until the job is successfully matched.
She said the platform, which reached breakeven in eight months after the launch, plans to expand its services to Singapore.
The full article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 3
Translation by Ben Ng
[Chinese version 中文版]
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