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Nothing fishy about this celebrity chef hiring older workers

Rick Stein has a policy of offering flexible working hours to senior employees at his award-winning restaurants.

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  • Read Time: 5 mins

How to impress a potential employer

It is a natural concern of older workers about whether their age is a disadvantage and what they can do to stay competitive.

Here are some top tips from employers to getting the job you want. 

Stay healthy  

This is the top thing bosses want from older workers and it’s easy to understand why. 

Keep job skills up to date

New skills can matter just as much as much as years of experience. Staying competitive means learning new skills and technologies as responsibilities change.

Do the job well

A no-brainer. Bosses want workers to give a strong job performance.

Network and meet new people

When retired, keep in touch with your previous professional or trade network. It’s the big advantage older workers have – it’s not what you know but the people you know, as the adage goes.

Good work can be good for your mental health, even if you’re retired and just looking to keep your hand in the workplace.

Studies confirm what many older workers say: that work can help provide a sense of purpose, connect you to others, and provide income and daily activity.

Good work can also help during periods of poor mental health. During such times, reasonable adjustments to your work may help you to stay at work and recover.

Just ask celebrity chef Rick Stein, who at 77 is not only NOT thinking of retiring himself but actively prefers hiring older workers at his chain of 10 restaurants in the United Kingdom (plus two in Australia).

Stein is informed by the loss his father to suicide in 1965, when he was just 18.

“Dad took early retirement and he struggled without all the camaraderie and pressure of work,” Stein told Saga’s Exceptional magazine.

“My industry focuses on younger people – which is great – but older people often bring a nice balance.

“I've got a few 60- and 70-somethings working part-time in my restaurants and they love it. And the customers love them, so let’s try to get older people back into the workplace.”

Stein could easily call it a day (which would be devastating to the legion of fans of his TV shows), especially after having had open heart surgery at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London earlier this year after struggling with breathlessness.

Good for your health

There is increasing evidence that the payoff of working past age 65 and retirement is better health and longevity.

A 2016 study of about 3,000 people suggested working even one more year beyond retirement age was associated with a 9% to 11% lower risk of dying during the 18-year study period, regardless of health.

Another study, of 83,000 older adults over 15 years showed that compared with people who retired, people who worked past age 65 were about three times more likely to report being in good health and about half as likely to have serious health problems, such as cancer or heart disease.

Other studies have linked working past retirement age with a reduced risk of dementia and heart attack.

Let pensioners work

Through its Let Pensioners Work campaign, National Seniors wants the removal of all barriers to older people wanting to keep working or return to working.

Those barriers include ageist attitudes by employers and others in the workforce, poor government policy, and financial disincentives.

The most ingrained and harmful disincentive is the Age Pension income test, which severely limits the amount of work a pensioner can do before losing pension payments.

Recent government changes to the pension work test have opened up more work hours but there is a lot more government can do. Allowing pensioners in the care sector to work and keep their pension is a priority, as it will help retain older workers in this critical sector.

You can help us make it happen by learning more about our campaign and supporting it here.

Related reading:, AARP, National Seniors, Harvard Health

Photo: Rick Stein at The Seafood Bar by Sam Harris (


John Austin

John Austin

Policy and Communications Officer, National Seniors Australia

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