"Age is our workforce"
"Age is our workforce"
As retirement approaches, questions about the future, opportunities and limitations of working life arise for many. At Comwell, however, age is no obstacle to having career dreams late in life - or following them. Not even for the three waiters, 65-year-old Jørgen, 60-year-old student Ole or 58-year-old Helge.
In Denmark, 22.6% of the Danish workforce is aged 55 or over. Does this mean it's too late to pursue new and old career dreams, even if you're approaching retirement age? No, it doesn't. At least not if you ask 60-year-old trainee waiter Ole Roloff, 65-year-old a la carte waiter Jørgen Berg Nissen or 58-year-old waiter Helge Lorenzen.
All three still have impressive careers at Comwell Kolding, where they draw on their many years of industry experience on a daily basis:
- "Our experience creates a sense of security for ourselves, but also for the young people. They know that when we say it will work out, it will work out. We've seen and experienced it all, and we now use that in our late career," says Helge, while still having a career late in life also creates positivity in Jørgen's private life:
- "Thinking about a career late in life creates flexibility for a 65-year-old like me, who doesn't want to work 70 hours a week, but still wants to use his 47 years of experience in a profession I'm passionate about. We have a good plan for my working hours so that my wife and I can visit our children and grandchildren, and hopefully I can continue for many years to come.
Dynamics are strengthened in the meeting between young and old
When the "old people", as they all call themselves, arrive at work, things are calmer. The experience they have built up over many years in the labor market gives them all a different perspective on the tasks at hand:
- We older people contribute to lowering the uncertainty of the evening's event. It's not that we're better than the younger waiters, but hopefully we add a sense of control to the dynamic. Because it's there, and it's contagious, says Jørgen, while Helge emphasizes:
- "Age is simply becoming our workforce.
With different ages in the waiter group, there are also different professional experiences. In Ole's opinion, this is a great advantage when it comes to gaining new insights. Young and old:
- We are very good at discussing gastronomy and wine with each other: Where is it from? How does it smell? Do you know it? We talk about many professional things and use each other's knowledge across ages. It's a great strength for those of us with more years behind us as well as for the younger ones," says Ole.
Important balance in the waiter workforce
According to Statistics Denmark, the percentage of the Danish workforce aged 55 or over is expected to rise to 26% by 2030. But looking into a number of years with a larger staff of +55-year-olds is not something that scares Comwell Kolding's restaurant manager, Camilla Beck.
On the contrary.
- "Having experienced employees is something I value highly. Their experience and sparring is important for the balance in my waiter squad, which is usually filled with young, hard-working people who benefit from the calm and overview of the experienced ones, says Camilla Beck, referring to Ole, Jørgen and Helge:
- "I wouldn't want to be without them and can easily see them all contributing to my department for many years to come.
Whether they are 20 or 60
Stopping their late career is not on the drawing board for any of the three gentlemen. They may not be looking 10 years into the crystal ball anymore, but instead taking it a year or two at a time.
Because even though they are getting older, they "have to do what they can", says Ole and concludes by saying that for him it is unique to be able to do what he can in a place where the employees and the team spirit are at the core.
It doesn't matter if they are 20 or 60:
- I feel that we have a management that wants the employees. This makes me feel seen and respected as a trainee waiter. As a human being. At the age of 60. Good values are extremely important to me, and I'm lucky that my job doesn't feel like a job because I love meeting people and giving them good experiences. That's my passion. And as long as it's there, I don't see why I should be anywhere else.