Mumbai: Employees at Truebil, a virtual marketplace for pre-owned cars, would soon be witnessing scenes straight out of the Robert De Niro-starrer ‘The Intern’ at their workplace. Taking inspiration from the movie — where De Niro plays the character of Ben Whittaker, a 70-year-old intern working for a startup firm — Truebil is hiring retired senior citizens as interns to work on short-term stints at the firm.
The process, which is currently under way, would involve hiring of about eight interns, who are over 60 years of age, with work experience in mid- to senior-management levels.
The objective is two-pronged. First, to provide a second innings to retired citizens and help them understand how latest technology works in a New-Age organisation and, second, to mentor the 200-odd employees at Truebil, where the average age is around 28 years. Shubh Bansal, co-founder and marketing head of Truebil, believes the exercise would help employees get a sense of how organisations used to operate in the pre-internet era.
“We have already received around 20 applications for internship from senior citizens. The interns will be hired for three months at a stipend of Rs 15,000 per month, plus lunch and travel cost. They will have the flexibility of coming in either every day or a minimum of thrice a week. The senior interns are not expected to work like regular interns. It would be a learning experience for both the interns and the people working at Truebil,” said Bansal.
Youngsters working alongside sexagenarians would make for an unusual sight at the startup. Bansal said he wants employees to understand how the corporate world evolved and what processes were historically used when there was a strong boss and hierarchical culture. “As a startup, we have an open system where there are no cubicles,” he said.
The initiative will begin with Truebil’s Mumbai office and would eventually roll out in Bengaluru and Delhi as well. One senior intern will get to work exclusively with the CEO, while the others will be deployed across departments.
Advances in medical sciences have ensured that people are physically fit even after retirement. According to a specialist staffing firm Xpheno co-founder Kamal Karanth, while a section of senior citizens are keen to continue working either as a consultant or on a part-time basis, senior citizen hiring is still at best moderate.
“In recent times, the one area in which we find their demand is in corporate banking. There are many new lenders and plenty of NBFCs (non-banking financial companies) which have got licences and are expanding in tier-2 and tier-3 cities, plus towns. These financial services don’t have presence there. They are hiring retired bank managers or officials of PSU banks in these places. This gives them access to customers whom they would otherwise not know,” said Karanth.
Data gathered by job site Indeed reveals eight positions that job seekers above the age of 60 are interested in. These include data entry clerk (11%), computer operator (7%), freelance writer (5%), faculty (3%), teacher (3%), trainer (2%), tutor (2%) and content writer (2%).
Indeed India MD Sashi Kumar said, “Senior job seekers showed the most inclination for these positions out of all available job postings. However, some of these positions are seeing a high level of mismatch, i.e. the number of job seekers far exceeds the number of available openings. The posts that see the maximum levels of mismatch include tutor, freelance writer, teacher, data entry clerk and faculty. This is indicative of the fact that despite senior job seekers being open to sharing their knowledge and proficiency, they face stiff competition from a ready supply of job seekers.”