Employing the unretired: Embracing a new trend

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Unretired. You’ve probably started hearing the term more and more, because they make up the biggest new candidate trend. But who are they and would they be appropriate for your workplace?

The unretired are people who have left retirement to rejoin the workforce. Recent studies show this is motivated not only by the booming job market and the cost of living crisis but also by a desire to contribute more in society.

And that could be good news for your organisation, especially with candidate shortages. Unretired employees not only add more diversity to your workplace, they also bring decades of soft skills experience. And if they’re headed back into work because they prefer working to retirement, they’re bringing that enthusiasm with them.

One recent survey of retirees found that  nearly a third would think about going back to work, or they were already working again. In fact, Google reported a 200% increase in searches for the term  ‘returning to work after retirement’ in the last year.

The advantages of hiring older workers

Every retiree returning to work has a different motivation and situation. But from your business’ perspective, there are strong reasons to be open to employing this cohort of people known as the unretired.

Not only do older workers have decades of experience and skills built up over extensive careers. But they can also be great mentors and teachers to younger employees. This is particularly when it comes to soft skills like communication, collaboration and teamwork.

Workplaces filled with diverse groups of people, with different perspectives, backgrounds and experiences, generally thrive more than their competitors. And we’d say this is the same for age-diverse teams, too.

Successfully recruiting unretired candidates

With candidate shortages still in many sectors it’s worth knowing about this potential new talent pool. Unretirees could be great additions to your own business.

Bear in mind that many older people feel that their age poses a disadvantage to them when it comes to job applications. This is borne out by research by The Centre for Ageing Better, which suggests that over a quarter of 50-69-year-olds feel this way.

So here are a few pointers on how you can attract them to apply:

Highlight flexible working even more

Having a certain amount of autonomy over how and when you work is highly desirable to job candidates of all generations. But we’d say work-life balance is even more crucial for older workers. Team members in later life are more likely to have health needs or caring commitments. So feel free to emphasise this in your job adverts and all the way through the recruitment process.

Remember part-time may be all that’s needed

For those retirees who need to return to the workplace, full-time hours might not be practical, possible or even necessary. Bear this in mind when you’re about to advertise vacancies for roles.

Write job ads with everyone in mind

Unfortunately, many job adverts still read like they’re aimed at young candidates. This can be hugely off putting to potential older employees. Our advice at HR GO? Major on the skills needed for the role, rather than the lifestyle or general age of the candidate. Words like ‘ambitious’, ‘high energy’ and ‘ninja’ are high on the age-bias list, for starters. Read more of our tips on how to make your job adverts age-friendly.

Creating age-friendly workplaces

There are strong positives in employing older workers. And running an age-friendly workplace benefits employees of all ages.

What’s clear is that unless your organisation can work out how to tap into the experience and abilities of these “unretirees” you could miss out to your competitors who’ve welcomed them back already.

Check out the Centre for Ageing Better’s Good Recruitment for Older Workers: A guide for employers.

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