Expanding your Talent Hunt to Unretiring Older Adults

Greta Cline, CFO
Greta Cline
Partner, CFO/COO
June 3, 2022

Are you seeking out new talent as a Central Indiana employer? That’s Good HR is here to help. One of our latest recommendations: don’t discount older workers when conducting your candidate search. Much of the Baby Boomer generation is looking to either retain their current position or “unretire” and rejoin the workforce. You can use these tips to better reach local qualified candidates, including unretiring older adults!

“The Great Resignation” is slowing

According to a recent Indiana Business Journal article from Liz Malatestinic, older workers are a treasure trove for local businesses on the hunt for more employees. You may be familiar with the “Great Resignation” or the “Big Quit,” but what about the “Great Retirement?” A number of people chose to retire early during the early days of the pandemic, some for health reasons and some because they just didn’t want to tolerate frustrating work conditions any longer. 

However, there are several signs that show that the older worker workforce exodus is slowing down. The phenomenon of “unretiring” or retirees returning to the workforce typically falls around 3%, though it went down to about 2% in the spring of 2020. But as the IBJ article explains, “according to the Congressional Research Service, that number has recently risen to approximately 2.6%.”

What can older workers offer you?

One of the “arguments” against hiring or retaining older workers is that they are likely to retire (or retire again) soon. However, studies show that younger workers generally have a much higher turnover rate than older workers. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report from January 2020, the typical tenure of workers from 55 to 64 was actually more than three times longer than workers in their 20s and 30s. 

As Mason King, IBJ News Editor and Digital Media Manager/Producer, joked in the Eight@8 newsletter: “We’re smart; we’re dedicated; we have loads of valuable long-term perspective, and we appreciate the work. We don’t like change, so we’re going to stick around longer than those opportunistic Gen Z kids.”

What do unretiring older adults want in a job?

Along these same lines, older workers want more respect in their new or current job, without any of these age biases that are common in hiring and retention processes. Older workers may find themselves marginalized, and your local business could find a big benefit in including age discrimination as an educational component of their diversity training — which PwC reported only 8% of companies have done in their formal diversity programs. 

Many older workers or unretiring seniors simply want to work a little less, which is where a flexible or reduced schedule comes in. Of course, flexible work schedules are a major selling point for all ages of job seekers right now, so making it work at your company is going to be to your benefit all around. 

Retaining older workers

One recent poll from Express Employment Professionals and Harris Poll showed that “79% of those between the ages of 57 and 75 wanted to stay in the workforce.” Help your older workers want to stay at your company by implementing good retention policies for your motivated older employees. In addition to the diversity training and flexible work schedules, ask your older workers what they want or need to do their job well. When you take these extra steps to make employees of all ages feel appreciated, you will be more likely to encourage your current workers to stay. 

If you need help expanding your workforce with qualified candidates (including the potential for unretiring older adults), you can partner with That’s Good HR. Contact us today at 317-469-4141 to learn more about our strategic staffing solutions for your unique Indiana business.