Published in Fortune on September 7, 2018
By RENAE REINTS
A new Starbucks in Mexico City has a unique requirement for employees: candidates must be 55 or older to pass the job interview.
The cafe’s new employees are currently being trained by younger baristas, but eventually the shop will be run entirely by 14 seniors, The Washington Post reports. Starbucks aims to employ 120 seniors across Mexico by the end of the year.
The move is part of a wider initiative to employ senior citizens, who often struggle to maintain their quality of life. According to a study by the Rand Corporation, Mexico’s aging population can find themselves in “a state of financial insecurity” due to a “lack of formal sources of income in retirement.”
It’s not a small problem either, 10% of Mexico’s population are senior citizens, according to Reuters. That’s 12 million people, and a United Nations study shows that older populations are growing globally.
“It’s becoming more difficult to employ people over 40 years of age,” Christian Gurria, the chief executive of Starbucks Mexico, told Reuters. “But the need to keep elderly people in work exists. If the opportunity is there, I’m happy to help.”
Starbucks partnered with the National Institute for Older Persons, a welfare program with the Mexican government, the Post reports, to abate this issue. Seniors employed by Starbucks will receive medical insurance and are guaranteed two days off per week. Their shifts are also required to be no longer than six-and-a-half hours.
“They treat us with a lot of respect and courtesy. I think we’ve formed a very interesting bond, and at the end of the day, it’s a productive job for everyone,” Sergio Arrioja, a senior staff member, told Reuters.
The senior-run cafe is another shop dedicated to helping minority populations. Starbucks is also planning to open a “signing store” in Washington, D.C., this October to better serve deaf customers, while providing a unique employment opportunity to those who are deaf or hard of hearing.