Study: 20% of retirees plan to return to work this year

Diving Brief:

  • 1 retiree out of 5 having responded to a Resume Builder Survey said they were likely to return to work this year. Of those who plan to ‘return to retirement’, 19% plan to return to a previous employer, 23% will stay in the same sector but work for a new employer and 58% said they would work in a different sector. Preferences for working remotely or in person were fairly mixed, although a plurality, almost a third, said they would prefer working remotely but would work in person if needed.
  • Rising costs are the main driver of this change, with 69% of respondents citing it as a factor. Other reasons included a desire to learn a new skill, take advantage of the current job market, or take advantage of a flexible or remote work culture.
  • In partnership with Pollfish, Resume Builder interviewed 800 retirees for the survey at the end of March. All were over 54 and retired.

Overview of the dive:

More available workers can be a relief for employers who have hard to find employees in the current environment. Indeed, nearly 1 in 4 Resume Builder respondents who anticipated a return said they were doing so “to take advantage of new labor shortage jobs.”

Additionally, while rising costs may be driving most retirees’ expected return to the workforce, many still indicated excitement about the prospect. About half said they were “somewhat” or “very” excited about the potential return.

Yet older workers have traditionally struggled to catch the attention of recruiters. Federal regulators recently hosted an event where they named older workers among those who have struggled with employment gaps and been neglected in the job market despite a major push for workers.

This is partly the result of ageism and age discrimination that “stubbornly stay with us,” said Heather Tinsley-Fix, senior advisor, financial resilience at AARP, at the event.

Another factor is the difficulty older workers sometimes have with a fast-paced job application process, Tinsley-Fix ​​said, which can now include the use of online hiring platforms and the expectations that applicants play games, take assessments, submit videos, or complete other technologically demanding requirements. .

Tinsley-Fix ​​noted that older workers often offer a variety of valuable skills and knowledge, including specialized understanding of the industry and soft skills like empathy, critical thinking and relationship building.

HR can reach older people looking for work using resources like the AARP job board and remove language from job postings — such as “recent graduate,” “quick-paced” and “full of energy” — that can signal to retirees that their applications aren’t being sought after, Tinsley-Fix ​​said.


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