2021 and 2022 were the years of the “Great Resignation,” in which thousands of workers quit their existing jobs in search of new roles that better suited their skills, work preferences, and career goals. As 2023 picks up steam, a new trend may be reappearing as well: the “Great Unretirement.”


Why are workers coming out of retirement?

About one in three US retirees say that rising inflation has prompted them to consider returning to the workforce, according to an American Staffing Association survey. About one in four said they’d consider going back to work if their Social Security retirement payments no longer covered their basic expenses. And about 15 percent said they were already looking for work.


Economic pressures are a key driver of unretirement decisions, but they aren’t the only causes. Some retirees decide to rejoin the workforce because they miss the challenges or camaraderie of work. Some wish to make a difference in the world. And some see that their skills still have value for workplace teams.


What challenges do Great Unretirement job-seekers face?

Those emerging from retirement, however, may face certain challenges. These include worries that their age could pose a problem. Many retirees only want work if they can have a flexible work schedule, work remotely full-time, or both.


Age and work arrangements are retirees’ two biggest concerns about returning to work, according to the ASA poll. Employers may have other concerns as well, such as questions about whether retirees have relevant, needed skills in a time of rapid skill turnover.


How can former retirees benefit our business?

Don’t count retirees out of your candidate pool just yet. These potential workers offer a number of benefits to the workplace.


  • Unretired workers have a long perspective. Workers coming out of retirement do so after decades of work in their fields. They can take the “long view” on many topics – and they may have the perspective to see why some methods work well and others are obsolete.
  • Unretired workers can help close skill and staffing gaps. Many companies rely on a flexible, part-time workforce to close skills and staffing gaps. Unretired workers, with their preference for flexible, part-time work, offer a “best of both worlds” arrangement for both employer and employee.


Whatever lies ahead for the economy and hiring, the team at Odell Studner is here to help.

If you have questions about team leadership, human resources, or hiring, reach out to us today.