Are we seeing the start of the Great Unretirement?

Although the economic forecast looks challenging for the next couple of years, most of the reports coming out suggest that the labour market remains in a strong position to withstand the turbulence ahead. Staff shortages continue to be a challenge for many businesses and in several areas are hampering opportunities for growth.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the proportion of the over 50s taking retirement saw a significant increase, but there are signs now that some of these are returning to full-time employment.

The return to the workplace seems to be driven by those in the younger bracket of 50-54, this category tended not to be debt free, unlike the 60-64 group, who came out of the workplace debt free, having paid off their mortgages. In a recent government report over half 60-65’s were confident their financial provisions would be able to meet the needs of their retirement.

It is interesting to understand what the motivations for this age group were when leaving their jobs, these range from, retirement 24%, wanting a change of lifestyle 17%, the pandemic 17%, redundancy 17% stress 15%.

And if you look at the motivations for returning to work, money is the main factor, (cost of living crisis) followed by looking to improve mental then physical health. In many cases, those who were made redundant during the pandemic are coming back into the workplace, but probably not as many as we need! Although the numbers have dropped before the end of 2022 by 84,000 the overall number of economically inactive 50-64-year-olds remained at 300,000, which is still higher than pre-pandemic levels.

Although many businesses remain cautious with the talk of recession, staff shortages remain high and incentivising older workers to return would help release pressures on employers. There needs to be an innovative approach by employers to encourage these key workers back into jobs,  these should include retraining and flexibility, which will be key to facilitating successful re-entry.

If you are looking to come out of retirement and return to employment we would love to hear from you.