5 Reasons Retirees are Returning to the Workforce

on July 18, 2022 in ABR Blog, HR and Workforce Tips


According to a Resume Builder poll, 1 in 5 retirees who responded said they were likely to head back to work this year. Among those who plan to “unretire,” 19% plan to go back to a previous employer. While 23% will stay in the same industry but work for a new employer. With that, 58% said they would work in a different industry.

So why are retirees returning? Well, rising costs may be the driving force behind most retired workers’ planned return to the workforce. However, many still indicated excitement about the prospect. In fact, around half said they were “somewhat” or “very” enthusiastic about a potential return.

5 Reasons Retirees are Returning to the Workforce

Retirees are not just going back for their paychecks, according to GoBankingRates. Many retirees are driven by a variety of factors mentioned below. Not to mention, the majority are only working part-time.​

Here are five reasons formerly retired Americans are returning to the workforce this year:

1. Inflation: The U.S. inflation rate hit 8.3% in April, continuing a recent run that has seen prices surge to their highest levels since the early 1980s. In addition, the Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2022 is only 5.9%. As a result, retirees who depend on Social Security for a majority of their income are struggling with inflation costs.

2. Stock Market: So far in 2022, the Dow has fallen about 10% after spending most of the previous decade soaring to record highs. The S&P 500 has dipped even more this year. Due to this, many retirees have seen their 401k balances decline just as prices have skyrocketed. In some cases, retirees have little option but to return to work.

3. The Rise in Remote Work: Possibly the biggest impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on professional life is that it forced many companies to adapt to work-from-home arrangements during lockdowns. Businesses looked to technologies like Zoom and Microsoft Teams to make it easier for employees to work remotely. Many employees liked the arrangements — especially older workers who have grown sick of long and expensive commutes.

4. Rising Health Costs: According to AARP, as of April, the cost of medical care services had risen 3.5% from the previous year. This has proven to be a big roadblock to retirees. Because of this, retirees who aren’t eligible yet for Medicare are returning to the workforce strictly for health care coverage.

5. Social Interaction: Finally, seniors tend to be more isolated than younger people, which only worsened during the pandemic. For retirees, returning to work provides a way to avoid loneliness.

How to Reach Retirees 

HR can reach older people looking for work by using resources like the AARP’s job board and removing language from job ads — such as “recent college graduate,” “fast-paced,” and “high-energy” — that can signal to retirees that their applications aren’t wanted, said Heather Tinsley-Fix, senior advisor, financial resilience at AARP.

At ABR, we have many flexible job opportunities for retirees that are looking to return to the workforce and businesses looking to grow their workforce with returning retirees. Contact us today to learn more.