With his starched white shirt tucked into his pleated trousers, Avinash Purat smartly walked into Nehru Centre at Worli on Saturday, CV in hand.
Purat, 65, a retired software company manager, looked nervous before his interview for the post of a consultant in an insurance company at the city’s first Retirement Expo organised by Dignity Foundation, a non-profit organisation.
“Post retirement, I have a lot of spare time. I want to put my experience and knowledge to use,” said Purat. “My children (who do not live with him) deposit a token amount in my account every month to run the house. However, earning a basic stipend will help me feel more independent,” he added.
On Saturday, which was the second day of the three-day expo, more than 4,000 senior citizens above 55 years of age walked into the center. By the end of the day, 350 of them had submitted their résumés to begin their second careers.
Those looking at hiring “retired, experienced and dedicated employees” included insurance companies, call centres, banks and corporate houses. “Senior citizens are great opinion makers. They meet their friends regularly and can network better,” said Prem Pandey, sales manager, ING Vysya Life Insurance Co. Ltd, which is recruiting seniors as insurance consultants and accountants. “Most of them are also computer savvy, which makes our job easier,” added Pandey.
While most visitors at the job counter were computer-savvy, there were a few who enrolled for computer classes at the fair. “Being aware of Microsoft Ofice and the internet is a requisite for every job. For those who could not sign up for a job owing to their inability, we will train them at our computer centre for free, making them competent for the job,” said Sheilu Sreenivasan, founder president, Dignity Foundation. “However, the centre does not have sufficient computers. We are accepting donations of even second-hand sets,” she added.
Though salary packages rarely exceed Rs 15,000 per month, money is not the only criteria driving the seniors. Sitting in the interview queue was former Indian Navy biochemist, Nafisa Modi. “I had to quit the navy to join my husband in the Gulf. After returning to the city in the 1990s, we set up a wholesale shop in Crawford Market,” said Modi, 61, whose son recently took over the reins of the business. “With no responsibility to shoulder right now, I would want to occupy my time by engaging in consultancy services,” she added.