The hospitality industry is pleading with the grey army to get out of retirement and help with the labour shortage over Christmas.
More than 10,000 jobs in the sector are available with hotels being forced to close or reduce hours during their busiest period due to a lack of staff.
“The return of international students and working holiday makers will be slow, but we have an army of skilled mature age workers here that we need to tap into,” Australian Hotels Association chief Stephen Ferguson said.
“They are reliable, hard-working and mature – and we need their help.”
Cobargo Hotel owner Dave Allen said he specifically targeted older people in his South Coast community, offering free training for anyone willing to give the job a go, and it saved him.
“We do have a big retired community down here so I put up a sign in the pub asking for help and we now have four new women on staff, who do a couple of days a week each.
“They did RSA, RCG and a barista course online for free, they are keen and they are working out great. They are a God-send.
“I think there needs to be a national program promoting our industry as one not just for kids but for everyone. This group is our way out of this crisis in the short-term.”
Mr Ferguson said the federal government had made some changes to the pension so retirees could work and not lose benefits, and said the association was in discussions about further changes to help encourage more mature aged workers into the industry.