‘Unretirement’ sees retirees rejoin the workforce

Financial needs are forcing retirees back into the market as there is a growing trend for “unretirement”, according to AustralianSuper. 

Research by the super fund in association with WorkSafe Victoria, entitled ‘Unretirement: Transition Pathways in Retirement’, found there were 169,000 Australians who had previously retired from the labour force but were planning to look for or take up work in the future.  

Some 42% of these people did so because of ‘financial needs’ while others said they ‘needed something to do’, the second most-common reason.  

Looking at people who had not yet retired, some 70% of Australians planned to retire but only 23% expected to retire fully and 56% of people who were still working said the reason was they were concerned about their finances.  

“Transition pathways in retirement that include ‘unretirement’ are becoming increasingly common and are predicted to grow given longer life expectancies, insufficient retirement incomes, and older adults’ desire to remain socially engaged,” the report said. 

“Research shows that approximately half (42%) of Australians who returned to the labour force after retiring, did so because of ‘financial needs’. The second most common reason for unretiring is being ‘bored’ and needing something to do (32%). 

“Indeed, many people ‘unretire’ due to reasons unrelated to finances, such as returning to work to gain a sense of purpose lost after retiring or for social reasons. People may return to the same industry they were in prior to retiring or opt for something completely new. In instances where people ‘unretire’ for non-financial reasons, they may opt for volunteering and unpaid roles.” 

There was also a role for employer to play as those retirees who received assistance from their employers felt more confident going into retirement, the super fund said. This could be via employee assistance programs, training and tools or maintaining work connections via alumni networks. 

They were also urged to consider their hiring practices and ensure they were not guilty of age discrimination in recruitment. 




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