Candidate Pools & Proactive Recruiting

Baby Boomers Seek ‘Unretirement’

The latest trend among older Americans is one that may benefit your company. A significant number of retired Baby Boomers want to rejoin the workforce.

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In fact, a study from the Rand Corporation, a nonprofit research organization, finds that more than half of retirees would return to work, under the right circumstances. And the percentage is even higher among older college graduates—60 percent versus 40 percent of older Americans without a college degree.

Employment Considerations

Nevertheless, older grads and nongrads have much in common when it comes to “unretirement.” They want employment that fits with this stage of their lives.

Among their considerations:

  • Some control over how they do their work
  • Ability to set their own pace
  • Physical demands of the job

With regard to the first item, “some control,” older workers primarily want flexibility in terms of hours and the ability to set their own schedule.

While these considerations may seem like logical requests, employers should take note: The survey finds that older workers are almost as exposed to intense or repetitive physical exertion on the job as younger workers.

Within the Workplace

Older workers also seek “constructive relationships” in the workplace. Likewise, they want support from coworkers and supervisors.

Interacting with others may be high on the list, but Rand research suggests that “meaningful work” is the most important factor for delaying retirement or returning to the workforce. More than two-thirds of older workers say they get satisfaction from work well done and doing useful work.

About Bennies

Although it is generally presumed that older Americans return to work, at least in part, for benefits, the survey suggests otherwise. It finds that older job seekers are less likely than their younger counterparts to rate formal benefits like dental insurance, life insurance or paid time off as essential or very important.

For employers, this finding suggests greater flexibility with regard to compensation and employee status.

Large Candidate Pool

How widespread is the unretirement trend? The Rand survey finds that 39 percent of workers 65 and older, who are currently employed, had previously retired at some point.

That still leaves a lot of retired Baby Boomers interested in employment opportunities.

What job openings at your company can these experienced candidates fill?

Paula Paula Santonocito, Contributing Editor for Recruiting Daily Advisor, is a business journalist specializing in employment issues. She is the author of more than 1,000 articles on a wide range of human resource and career topics, with an emphasis on recruiting and hiring. Her articles have been featured in many global and domestic publications and information outlets, referenced in academic and legal publications as well as books, and translated into several languages.