Work Options for Retirees
After toiling away for years to support themselves and their families, most people would welcome retirement and the opportunity to soak up the sun, take cruises or just sit back and relax. For some, though, once that chapter in their life has ended, the first impulse is to resume working. Even if they don’t want to return to their old job, some retirees seek work options, and more people are choosing this path.
“What our research is showing is that more than 70 percent of our members want to work beyond traditional retirement years, which, more often than not, people equate with 65,” said Tim Wollerman, AARP manager of workforce resources. “But what we’re finding is that there’s no typical age or average for retirement.”
This phenomenon, he said, is something the baby boomers essentially invented.
“Boomers are often cited as the ones who will reinvent retirement and more often than not, that includes some work aspect,” Wollerman said. “A lot of folks want to continue to work beyond traditional retirement years but not necessarily in the same job, and they might not want to work full time, as well.”
This applies to many industries, and IT is no exception. In fact, Wollerman said retirees who have a background in IT have an advantage over those who do not.
“One of the benefits of IT is that it’s such a transferable skill — a worker with IT experience is certainly marketable,” he said. “Depending on their situation and intent, I think they have a lot of opportunities.”
Before embarking on the mission of finding post-retirement work, though, Wollerman said you need to have a clear goal, and one of the first things to determine is whether you want to do the same work you did before you retired.
“In many ways, there are more opportunities for 50-plus workers, depending on their personal situation and financial situation, to switch careers,” Wollerman said. “There are different opportunities than there were 15 years ago, there are more flexible work arrangements, so part of it is really identifying the reasons why you want to work and to start from that point. Do you want to work traditional work hours, in a traditional environment? Do you want to work part time? Do you want to take advantage of the more flexible work arrangements?”
If retirees do not want to volunteer, that is, they wish to be paid for the work they do, a good place to start is with their former company. Even if they do not want to or are unable to dive right back into networking, security, etc., many organizations seek retirees for mentor programs or consulting work.
“We’re seeing more innovation and adoption of these arrangements in many organizations,” Wollerman said. “There might be opportunities within your own company to work in a different area or in a different work arrangement.”
Also, many organizations are starting to place new, perhaps higher value on employees who have retired but want to continue working.
“What we’re seeing now is businesses really turning to recognize the importance of mature workers — with age comes experience,” Wollerman said. “And as the boomers age, the potential of losing that expertise and that skill and those bodies is certainly affecting things.”
Additionally, there are many electronic resources available for retirees who seek work options.
“You’re also seeing new programs that support that such as the National Employer Team, the Best Employer program we have — those are great places to start as far as organizations you know are age-neutral and are seeking experienced workers,” Wollerman said. “There’s another organization called RetirementJobs.com, which is a search engine specific to 50-plus workers that actually vet companies for their postings. There are a number of resources out there. Monster.com also has a 50-plus career channel. There are more specialized resources available, as well.”
Face-to-face communication is still the best way retirees can learn about work options, though.
“More than anything, though, networking is identified as the way a majority of people find a job — it’s often cited that 60 percent to 80 percent of jobs are found from networking,” Wollerman said. “And when you have someone with that level of experience, an