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The Retiree Remix

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

Reshaping Life's Soundtrack Through Reemployment

There are over 50 million retirees throughout the United States, and 10 million of those would love to go back to work for the right job! Reframing and remixing how we see each other opens up endless possibilities of joy!


We know that the pandemic triggered a paradigm shift in our workforce. Millions of people, prompted by an array of factors ranging from health concerns to the pursuit of better work-life balance, took the previously unimaginable step of quitting a job without having another job.

We also know that aging and other demographic trends are perfectly predictable. With more people retiring than joining the workforce, it's creating a long-term yet predictable labor shortage situation.

“How cohorts age” is something completely different. In this case, we wanted to understand how retirees are feeling about their retirement and if they would want to rejoin the workforce to fill the labor shortage gaps.

10 million retirees would love to go back to work for the right opportunity

#1: Most retirees are ‘enjoying’ retirement, but……

Our latest data among close to 700 retirees shows that 77% of retirees are "enjoying being retired," yet only 42% feel confident about their financial security for the remainder of their lives. Interestingly, 22% of retirees reported that they were forced into retirement or asked to retire by someone else.

Only half of retirees report that retirement is better than expected (51%). “For many people, their work offers them meaning and purpose in their lives. When their job is gone, it can be difficult to fill that gap with something else,” says Iris Waichler, a clinical social worker and author who specializes in elder care.

Social connections are increasingly hard to create as one ages, and oftentimes retirees can feel lonely once they step away from the social environments provided by a job. 32% of retirees “miss working with other people.”

#2: Close to 1 in 3 retirees would entertain rejoining the workforce… for the “right” job

Our survey found that 26% of retirees, and 29% of younger Boomer retirees would consider rejoining the workforce for the right job. That’s millions of people just sitting on the sidelines.

Interestingly, there were regional differences in interest, with retirees in the Midwest and West expressing higher levels of interest in returning to work.

The midwest/west have HIGHER interest:

  • 30% West

  • 29% Midwest

  • 26% South

  • 23% Northeast

Minorities are also LESS likely to return to work for the right opportunity:

  • 28% Caucasian

  • 20% Black

  • 21% Hispanic

#3: What are they looking for?

I’m sure your next questions are: What are their needs? Let me paint you a picture from our recent survey. The key insights are that they miss working with other people, and they likely are in search of some extra money.

Agree/Agree Strongly

  • 54% I miss working with other people

  • 42% I am confident that I have enough money for my lifetime

  • 22% I was forced/asked to retire – not my choice

Why it Matters

There is an untapped goldmine of retirees who would consider coming back to work for the right opportunity, but we need to reframe and remix the "aging out" mentality.

Seasoned workers possess wisdom, skills, and a perspective acquired throughout their careers that current employees can learn and benefit from. There is potential for a mutually beneficial relationship where both retirees and employers can thrive. We just have to build the opportunities that make coming back worth it.

Survey data was collected between April 2023 and June 2023 by Lisa W. Miller & Associates and Prodege, from a representative sample of 669 retired adults.

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