The Great Unretirement: Retirees re-entering the workforce


During the Great Resignation, a large percentage of older workers decided to retire early. Now, some have chosen to come back to the workforce in order to earn more money or discover a new sense of purpose. This shift has been labeled the Great Unretirement. 

While a lot of employees are returning to their companies as consultants, contractors, or mentors, organizations have also started to recognize the skills and values that workers with decades of experience bring to the table. 

Here are a few reasons why you should make baby boomers an integral part of your workforce

  • Overcome your company's skill shortage with a highly experienced talent pool.
  • Save time and money spent on training older workers who already have the relevant skill set.
  • Nurture an age-diverse workforce and build a more inclusive workplace. 
  • Benefit from strong work ethics that can inspire other employees and potentially increase morale. 
Making the most of the Great Unretirement

If you have decided to hire former retirees, these are some key areas where their skills and experience will make a big difference. 

Reverse mentoring

Pairing up a younger employee with an older worker can allow both parties to learn from each other. While the tech-savvy generation helps baby boomers keep up with the new ways of work, the older generations can share life knowledge and guidance that help younger workers advance in their careers. 

Connect with senior customers

Older workers can help you market to and acquire older customers who have high spending power.

Make work "work" their way

Ease the transition between retirement and full-time work

Coming back from retirement might be a difficult choice to make, so it helps to have more accessible ways to enter the workforce. This can include part-time or per diem work, job sharing, contract roles, and remote positions. Flexible scheduling can be a great way to support those returning to work. 

Create pay and resource equity 

It is important to treat older workers equally and create a pay scale based on their experience, rather than their tenure. 

Just as you would with other employees, give former retirees opportunities to grow through career development programs, and provide them with educational resources that can help them keep up their technological skills. 

Personalize their benefits

Your older employees might have unique needs with respect to their health, so be sure to offer benefits that meet these needs and adhere to all applicable employment laws.

Opening the market for a new talent pool

When you are looking to reach out to the older population for employment, it is important that you create more flexibility in your organization, prevent ageism, and use the right language in your job descriptions. If you would like to ease into this approach instead of jumping right in, consider introducing returnships (internships for people with a history of work experience) first. 


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