What Mary Portas’ ‘Silver Service’ Can Teach Us About 50+ Workers

Older Candidates Must Not Be ‘Written Off’ By Employers!

On Wednesday 11th, Channel 4 aired a new programme hosted by fashion broadcaster and retail consultant Mary Portas, Silver Service. In the past, Portas has expressed dissatisfaction at the the lack confidence that modern society has on the older generation, who she believes possess a lifetime of skills and experience that any employer would benefit from.

Unfortunately, however, this invaluable talent pool remains sorely underutilised. A tragic 30% of over 65s believe that they serve no purpose to society. And with ageism rife within the workforce, older workers often have a hard time getting into jobs that they are deemed ‘overqualified’ for, others feel forced to retire before they’re ready.

In an attempt to break down barriers, Portas devises a pop-up employment agency, with the aim of providing skilled older people with fulfilling, paid roles. She then provides mentoring to the team of worthy candidates she enlists,  Gloria, aged 71, Robert, aged 82,  John, aged 81, and Maureen, aged 73, and Annie, aged 77. The result is a valuable opportunity to show employers (and society in general) that the skills and know-how of older individuals should not be underestimated.

It is evident that the confidence of the 60+ candidates has been boosted by their experiences: ‘I haven’t past my sell by date by any means!’ remarks one woman.

Mary Portas’ Silver Service is not the first of its kind to be aired on Channel 4. Last September saw the Fabulous Fashionistas redefine the notion of ‘ageing gracefully’, proving that older people are just as valid and indispensable as their younger counterparts. The message is loud and clear- The older generation are skilled, experienced and feisty, and most certainly should never be written off by employers!


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