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Over-60s Looking for Jobs as ‘Great Unretirement’ Takes Hold

The number of over-60s registering as job candidates with Randstad UK has risen by 160 per cent of the long-running average, according to the recruiter.

Randstad says it expects roughly 155 candidates who are over 60 to apply to the agency every year.  This number rose gradually until 2018, when it peaked at 180, then fell to 150 in 2020.  However, in the last 12 months, 400 people over the age of 60 have registered with the recruitment agency to look for work.

Victoria Short, chief executive of Randstad UK said: “These candidates are not all necessarily returning to the workforce — some may have never left. It may be that some have been employed but with the groundswell changes we’ve seen in the job market, they are now looking for alternative or even additional employment.  A number of impacts continue to be felt around employee working relations. Working remotely and spending less time with colleagues throughout the pandemic has weakened many of the ‘social’ ties and loyalties between employees and employers, and between colleagues.  However, it seems likely that, given the sharp rise in over 60s registering with us in 2022 — 160 per cent above the long running average — many are returning to work after retiring, or now looking for second jobs.

“Inflation is running at levels not seen for 40 years. Living costs are soaring. While an affordable early retirement might have looked realistic a couple of years ago, it might not be an option any more. People’s finances are driving them back into work.”

The sectors with the oldest candidates are, on average, Financial Services and Education – with one supply teacher working with Randstad being almost 86 years-old, having originally registered with Randstad at the age of 77.

The data chimes with figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing thousands of early retirees who gave up work during the pandemic are returning to the labour market as inflation eats into their savings.

Tens of thousands of 50 to 64 year-olds “unretired” in recent months.  ONS figures found 75 per cent of inactive people aged 50 to 59 said they would consider returning to work in August 2022, up from 58 per cent in February. 84,000 fewer working age people have classed themselves as retired.

Victoria Short said: “Employers have realised the value of a more experienced and age-balanced workforce and the opportunities it offers them, and the wider UK economy.  At a national level, this boost of an available and motivated workforce will help to manage the labour shortage that has been stoking inflation.  But there are other benefits [including] the sharing of knowledge and experience within the workplace – what works, what doesn’t for customers or colleagues. I think we all remember people in our own careers, particularly in the early years, who were generous in sharing that type of knowledge and how invaluable it was.

“If you choose and are happy to continue to work in what may have been traditionally thought of as ‘the retirement years’, there are many positives for the individual too, apart from the obvious financial ones.  People like Joe Biden, America’s first ever octogenarian president, and Harrison Ford — about to play Indiana Jones again at the age of 80 — are showing the rich possibilities many of us will have as we live and remain active for longer.  Multiple studies show that health and happiness in later life corresponds with a sense of purpose.”

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Randstad UK says that in the last year, 400 over-60s have registered with the recruiter, looking for work: photo by @andreapiacquadio_

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Founded in 1960, Randstad is the world’s largest provider of recruitment and HR services (by revenue, gross profit, and market share), employing more than 40,000 people in 5,000 locations. In 2021, it generated revenue of almost €25 billion last year across 38 markets. Last year, Randstad helped more than two million candidates to find a job; trained over 450,000 people; and advised 235,000 clients on various aspects of their HR strategy — from talent acquisition to workforce management.

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