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Why Retail is Turning to Older Workers

In the dynamic world of retail, you need exceptional, unshakable talent with a passion for what they do.

Older workers represent a myriad of untapped potential for retailers and don’t have to be confined to the supermarket checkouts or greeters at DIY stores. As we age, changes in our brain make us better problem solvers, adept at joining the dots and seeing the bigger picture more clearly.(1)

This is also when the pressure of climbing the career ladder becomes less appealing, and a sense of purpose and fulfilment and a flexible role takes priority.

Here's Just A Few Reasons Why the Over-50s Should Be Front and Centre of Your Next Retail Recruitment Drive:

1. Older Workers Skills and Experience Make a Difference

For older workers, or those who are unretiring, a role in retail isn’t about filling time until something better comes along, or earning money between studies and nights out. Midlifers still have many years of loyal service left, with an employer who values their contribution.

Their wealth of experience, coupled with a genuine enthusiasm for the job, can seamlessly fill those recruiting gaps that have proven challenging to fill. Work/Redefined’s Jobs Board is the perfect place to reach out to over-50s talent.

2. The Reality of Older Worker Absenteeism

In retail, no-shows and absenteeism can seriously damage businesses. It’s a myth that older workers are more prone to absenteeism. In reality, the opposite holds true. 55% of UK 20-39-year-olds take more time off work than necessary compared to 10% of over 50s.(2)

Numerous statistics from multiple sources reveal that the reliability of older employees surpasses expectations, providing a steady and consistent presence in the workplace. This reliability and a tendency to stay in the job for longer can be a crucial competitive asset and reduce hiring costs in the longer term.

Our Recruitment Advertising Campaigns target passive over-50s candidates and are a cost-effective approach to hiring for even the most challenging roles.


Female retail worker going through a rack of clothes
A man weighs items at the checkout.

3. Solving the Shift Puzzle

Retail requires a workforce ready to embrace flexibility and sometimes antisocial hours. Older workers, often freed from the constraints of a rigid schedule, place a high value on the flexibility of a work pattern that might include working evenings and weekends.

This adaptability is a game-changer, addressing the industry's need for employees willing to navigate tricky shift patterns.

It’s one of the reasons why age-conscious employers such as Boots employ the over-50s in such high numbers (27% of Boots employees are over-50).(3)

4. Life Experience = Better Customer Relations

Navigating the intricacies of customer interactions is an art, and older workers bring a proven advantage to the table.

With a wealth of lived experience, they excel in dealing with difficult customers, turning potential challenges into opportunities for exceptional customer service. The result? A more satisfied customer base and a workforce that thrives under pressure.

5. Mirroring Customers with Multigenerational Teams

As our population ages, building multigenerational teams better reflects your customer demographic, and also adds a greater differential to your business dynamics. As we age, we develop greater awareness of the big picture, become more adept at problem solving and bring a different perspective to younger generations.

This can be honed and developed to a competitive advantage that best serves your customers, and in particular, the ageing population. Benchmark how your business ranks for inclusivity, using age as a metric, with our R/Age Readiness Score.

Join the Age-Inclusive Revolution

As we embark on a global journey towards age inclusivity in the workplace, the benefits of hiring older workers become clear, but where do you start?

Work Redefined‘s R/AGE Readiness Score is the perfect first step for businesses to quickly identify their priorities for becoming a more age-inclusive employer. In less than an hour, we can tell you how your business is performing against key age DEI markers, including Talent Attraction, Engagement and Growth, to help you define a roadmap for a more age-inclusive future.

If you're intrigued and eager to learn more about how incorporating age diversity can transform your retail workforce, get in touch. Our team is ready to show you how we’re helping our retail customers benefit from the untapped potential of an experienced, willing, and dynamic older workforce.