|Yang Yongping, 74, is the eldest staff of the McDonald’s restaurant where she works. She says working in the service industry keeps her happy and prevents her from feeling old. (Photo/Chinatimes)|
In order to postpone the day of retirement, many of Taiwan's "grey hair" generation are taking jobs in fast-food restaurants, supermarkets and convenience stores, and more often than not, offering services with more enthusiasm than their younger colleagues.
Office lady Janny sometimes rushes to fast-food restaurants for breakfast on the way to work and finds the "grandma employees" there to be very considerate.
"They remember the habits of their old customers, like if you're ordering a coffee, they know whether you like it hot or not, with sugar or not, or with milk or not. But most importantly, they care about you and ask you to take good care of yourself, like on rainy days or when the weather gets cold, just like moms do to their own children," Janny says.
According to Xiao Zhonghan, Chairman of Taiwan's Senior Citizens' Employment Promotion Association, many senior citizen employees still belong to the "sandwich" group because of increased life expectancy of Taiwanese society.
"They have parents in their 80s or 90s to take care of, as well as children to support who are fresh out of college and not getting paid very much. Worst of all, because young graduates are facing this low-salary dilemma, some have chosen not to work at all, which makes their middle-aged parents the sole bread winners for the family," says Xiao.
Statistics show that the size of Taiwan's labor force aged over 55, currently at 1.6 million, or 850,000 more than a decade ago, is poised to reach new highs.
The Taiwanese authorities say they hope to introduce policies that encourage postponement of the average retirement age (currently 60), in an effort to alleviate shortages in the labor market and enhance the labor participation rate.
This article is edited and translated from 《台湾银发族寻找"第二春"》, source: People's Daily Overseas Edition, author: Min Zhe.
Read more: Senior folks taking over Taiwan's match-making market