The ‘UnRetiree’ Movement

older woman works with a laptop

by Wendy Helfenbaum for reworked

Remember “quiet quitting”? Well, it’s shifted into a “quiet return,” according to a recent Pew study.

A growing number of older workers have been heading back to the office since the pandemic, in some cases in search of bridge jobs to combat the effects of high inflation, while others are being wooed to resume their jobs in the wake of continued labor shortages.

While this wave of ‘unretirees’ could alleviate one of the key challenges for today’s organizations — the continuing global skills shortage, especially for hard-to-fill senior roles — companies may need to adapt their culture to attract and retain this valuable talent pool. Working with an older workforce and tapping into their wealth of experience requires leaders to provide greater flexibility, promote DEI initiatives and create a positive learning environment.

Here’s what to keep in mind when recruiting, onboarding and supporting older workers.

The ‘UnRetiree’ Movement: Who Are They?

Nearly half (45%) of employed older workers describe themselves as retired, even though they’re working more than ever. According to the Pew report, about one in five Americans ages 65 and older held a job in 2023 — twice as many as 35 years ago — and they’re working more hours than in the past, too.

More specifically, this group of over-65 workers currently employed represents close to 11 million people, roughly four times more than in the mid-1980s, with women representing 46% of the group.

And according to the report, workers aged 75 and up are the fastest-growing group in the workforce.

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