Published in RINewsToday on August 29, 2022
Retirees are rethinking their decision to leave their jobs to travel, to pursue leisure activities and hobbies, and to spend time with their family and friends. After the surge of retirements in the early months of the pandemic in late spring 2022, retirees are now returning to work in droves, as they see the value of their stocks and bonds decline and a soaring inflation rate impacting their purchasing power.
A recent AARP web article, “5 Unexpected Reasons Retirees are Returning to Work,” cited data from the Indeed employment website, found that “of those who retired a year earlier, 1.7 million, or 3.3 percent, are employed again. The majority of these so-called un-retirees are working part time.”
Researchers are now following, and taking a closer look, at this employment trend.
According to website-based Resume Builder, a recently released survey revealed that one in five retirees say they are likely to return to work this year. Sixty nine percent of these respondents say they are un-retiring in order to combat rising costs of living. While nearly 60 percent were still concerned about going back to work during the ongoing pandemic, they say they may go back to work.
This survey was conducted online by the survey platform Pollfish, on March 29, 2022. In total, 800 participants in the U.S. were surveyed. All participants had to pass through demographic filters to ensure they were currently over the age of 54 and retired.
Continuing to Work in the Era of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Resume Builder’s survey findings found that 12 percent of the respondents stated that they were somewhat likely to un-retire this year, while an additional 8 percent say they are very likely. When asked where exactly they plan to go back to work, 19 percent said they will go back to work for their previous employer, 23 percent will stay in the same industry but work for a new employer, while the largest group, at 58 percent, will go to a different industry.
“There is no longer a retirement age and people want to be engaged longer,” stated career consultant Stacie Haller in a statement released on May 2, 2022, announcing the survey’s results. “Others are returning to the workplace for financial reasons, and in this new work world, there are now more options for them to return with the advent of remote work [and] more part-time work for older workers who cannot commit to a full work week,” she says.
The researchers say that many un-retirees want to take advantage of the flexibility of remote work, given the shifts in being based in a commercial building to remote work over the last 2 years. Thirty one percent of the respondents say they would prefer a remote position but will work in person if need be.
“Remote work is a priority of older workers returning to the workforce and a very welcome way to continue working past the age where they may have previously felt their only option was retirement,” said Haller. “Many no longer want the heavy travel schedule they may have had to endure, especially now that work/life balance is such a big part of workplace conversations.”
“So many candidates have shared with me that they want more of a life, but still want to work and contribute,” she added. “Remote work is important for those with aging physical challenges who can now continue to work and be productive from home. Remote work is also more financially viable for older workers as the cost of commuting has climbed and remote work becomes a huge way to save on costs,” she said.
The survey found that over 69 percent of the respondents cited rising costs and supply chain issues as a motivation for making a decision to reenter the workforce. The most common answer given by the retiree respondent as to why, as a retiree, they were considering un-retiring, eighty-three percent of the respondents expressed concern about their financial situation. Specifically, 44 percent of this group say they are somewhat concerned about the state of their finances, while 39 percent are highly concerned.
Additionally, the survey findings revealed that 39 percent say their daily expenses have increased somewhat over the past three months, while another 39 percent say their expenses have increased greatly. Nineteen percent expressed concern their retirement savings won’t cover their costs of living.
The researchers also found that six-in-ten of the survey’s respondents say they are still concerned about the pandemic. But the majority say they are likely to unretire this year and are open to in-person work. Specifically, 35 percent stated they are still somewhat concerned about the pandemic, while 24 percent noted they were highly concerned.
Employers Encourages to Return to Workforce
In addition to these safety concerns of returning to the office during this ongoing pandemic, 44 percent stated they are somewhat worried about age bias affecting their job prospects, while 28 percent were highly worried. But Haller says that older workers need not worry, stressing that today’s labor shortage is an excellent time for retirees to seek employment.
“The current war for talent has encouraged older workers to return as they are more welcomed than in the past and can find work to fit their needs and alleviate some or all of their financial struggles,” says Haller.
“Recruiters are reaching out to this cohort more than before on the hunt for talent. Those who have talents and skills in areas where they have not previously worked can have the opportunity to use those skills now as employers can see their years of work experience to speak to their candidacy,” adds Haller.
With the backdrop of the ongoing pandemic, the unretirement trend has become the new normal as retirees continue to enter the nation’s workforce in greater numbers. The returning retirees bring their technical skills, knowledge and work experience into a job market hit by a shortage of qualified. workers. Hiring the returning retirees allows a company to access their life-long skill set and experiences with younger workers also benefiting from being able to learn from these individuals. A stronger worker culture is created by bringing back older workers building ties between young and old employees. Retirees returning to work also benefit from a job market where employees receive increased wages and enhanced benefits. They also can continue to keep their minds more active at work reducing the incidents of being afflicted by Alzheimer’s and dementias.
As 2023 approaches, our image of retirement must change. With the growing number of unretired returning to their jobs, images of retirement won’t be of senior sitting on rocking chair on the porch, gardening, traveling, or fixing up the house. It will be tied to being employed.