The Great Unretirement – what does it mean for Recruitment?

What does the great “Unretirement” mean for Recruitment?

COVID gave a large number of 50 to 64 year olds a sight of just how green the grass is on the other side of the retirement fence. Many older workers liked what they saw and took the opportunity to opt out of employment – not because they were sick but because they were sick of working. This is despite workplaces becoming COVID safer.

Retirees were recently blamed for driving up to cost of Inflation according to the Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey – harsh words which may make more retirees consider returning to work.

Office of National StatisticsAccording to the Office of National Statistics there were many reasons that the older generation decided to retire during lockdown. The top two reasons being “Retire from paid work” and “I do not want to work anymore” along with those that were made redundant and decided to use their redundancy to ease themselves into retirement.


But if early retirement sounded idyllic, then what came next was less than ideal – the cost of living crisis.

Riding the wave of the cost of living, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt made efforts to get more people back to work a key focus of his Spring Budget in March and Jeremy Hunt’s campaign to get older people back to work has been boosted by early signs of a wave of “unretirement”.

The number of 50 to 64-year-olds preparing to get back to work rose sharply in the final three months of 2022, according to analysis of official data by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), as soaring inflation forced people to rethink whether they can afford to retire.

At the end of last year one in 20 economically inactive 50 to 64-year-olds said they would start looking for a job in the next three months – or 5.17pc of the total.

This was a significant jump from the 3.84pc who said they would re-join the workforce in the year to September and well above the pre-pandemic average of 4.48pc.

The UK has a high number of ex-workers that are now defined as “Economically Inactive” but there are encouraging signs in the first three months of 2023 that the over 50s are dipping their toes back into the talent pool.


Work, Wealth and Wellbeing in the over 50s

Your midlife years (50-60) are the perfect time to assess where you are on the journey to life fulfilment.

Regular work, wealth and wellbeing check-ups can help you lay the foundations for a much more focused, productive and fun journey through your 40s and 50s. And they’ll help plan for a fuller life.

Over 50s are encouraged to have a Midlife Wealth, Work and Wellbeing MOT with the recommendation that keeping yourself busy with full-time or part-time employment can improve your quality of life and even increase life expectancy over the retired.


The rise of the Returnship

A Returnship is a paid internship for workers who have stepped away from their careers for a few years or who are transitioning to new occupations. These opportunities are paid internships targeted at workers with significant working-time gaps in their resumes.

iRelaunch have a comprehensive list of Returnships available from companies including Amazon, Aviva and Network Rail.

iRelaunch works with employers to build and expand their career re-entry programs to hire relaunchers, and trains managers, recruiters and others involved in supporting the relauncher participants, plus the relaunchers themselves. At the same time, iRelaunch provides tools, resources, events, outreach about career re-entry programs and relauncher job opportunities and more to the iRelaunch community of 100,000 relaunchers.


Jobcentre Plus over 50s Recruitment events

Jobcentre Plus often hold Recruitment events for over 50s, including recent retirees looking for a way back into work. Employers and Recruiters are encouraged to participate in the event to gather potential Candidates.

Quite often, people looking for work who are 50 or older believe their age directly effects their chances of gaining employment. The aim is to change that with employers who are age inclusive and ready to hire.

The aim of the event is to break down the barriers and beliefs that the 50+ community are at a disadvantage in the labour market buy offering people a chance to discuss recruitment and jobs with a tailored recruitment event.


Recruiting Older Workers

The over 50s are, generally speaking, less active on LinkedIn than younger professionals and Indeed is not necessarily the Job Board that they will be using when looking for work.

Facebook is the best platform for the older generation – 11% of all Facebook users are aged between 55 and 64 years old and there are plenty of unretirement Groups on Facebook as well as Retirement Groups that might be worth a sneaky post!

If handled well, a “Refer a friend” campaign with careful wording can indirectly target the potential unretired – especially Part time jobs.

Newsletters – when running a Job Campaign, make sure you increase the scope of those filters. If your Recruitment Software specifically records recent Retirees then a targeted Newsletter Campaign could reap results.

When investigating candidates, look for older former employees that may have retired.

Speak to Clients about Returnships – can they provide an internship for people coming back to work? If a Client is struggling to fill a more traditional role (think Engineer, Hardware programmers, CNC etc), would a Returnship provide a route back to work for a qualified retired person?

Oh, and don’t forget to use the “return-to-work” key phrase in your Job adverts.

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