The Great Unretirement and How Your Business Can Benefit

Why are retirees returning to work and what does it mean for you as an employer?
Mon 24th Jul 2023

The increased cost of living and economic downturn has caused 2.5 million pre-retirees to delay retirement. In addition, a wave of people aged 50 and over, many of them retirees, are moving out of economic inactivity and back into employment. How can your organisation make the most of this growing talent pool?

Flexibility in the workforce

Alongside financial considerations, the new opportunities for more flexible working have pushed many retirees to look for work and to secure employment.

A survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in 2022 found the factors prioritised by the over-50s when returning to employment were flexible working hours (32%), a good salary (23%) and the ability to work from home (12%).

Employers are offering an increased range of flexible working arrangements, which are likely to appeal to over-50s employees such as:

  • Remote working, all or part of the time,
  • Part-time working,
  • Job sharing,
  • Compressed hours,
  • Staggered hours, and
  • Flexitime

Government encouragement for returning retirees

As part of the Spring 2023 Budget, the Chancellor introduced ‘returnerships’, an apprenticeship-style programme to help over-50s learn new skills and to return to work. This aims to support better access to retraining and allow workers of all ages to engage with second career opportunities.

It is hoped this Government initiative will support “older workers” in re-entering the workforce and provide them with the necessary skills and training to thrive in a new role or industry. As well as supporting the inclusion and retention of over-50s in the workforce.

How to attract and retain over-50s employees

Employers hoping to encourage over-50s to remain and/or return to work should consider the following:

  1. Flexible working policy - consider offering flexible work arrangements, or expanding the options that you already make available to staff. This can accommodate the preferences and needs of over-50s, who may not want to work full-time or have other commitments such as caregiving. Make sure you communicate this benefit clearly in your recruitment approaches and to existing staff to help to retain them.
  2. Retirement policies - review and revise your retirement policies to accommodate the trend of unretirement. This may include offering flexible retirement options, phased retirement programmes, or other arrangements that allow workers to transition from full-time to part-time work.
  3. Workplace adjustments – be prepared to make reasonable accommodations to ensure that returners can perform their job duties effectively and comfortably. Some “older workers” may have specific needs or requirements due to health or other factors.
  4. Training and development - provide opportunities for continuous learning and skill development to ensure that over-50s can thrive in their jobs.

Employers who embrace the trend of unretirement by creating inclusive and age-friendly workplaces, policies and practices stand to gain the most from supporting the over-50s to achieve their desire to return to the workforce.

For more information or advice on inclusive employment policies and practices, please contact Chris Cook on 01727 798089 or Emily Morrison on 01727 798106.

Contact Chris Cook

Use this form to contact Chris Cook directly with details of your enquiry. It costs nothing to make an enquiry and it is entirely confidential.

Alternatively, you can email chris.cook@salaw.com or call 01727 798089.

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