Teasing over 55s out of retirement may help plug the talent gap

Retaining staff is critical but encouraging retirees to come back to work part-time may also help fill the jobs gap

Teasing over 55s out of retirement may help plug the talent gap

More than half of people over the age of 55 are retired according to ABS figures from 2018-19. An increase from the previous year. But the past two years are likely to have increased that number further as it has done in the US where 5.5 million workers left the workforce during the pandemic.

That figure includes a surge in the number of people retiring early, says Elijah Bradshaw, VP of HR at Beeline.

People took stock of their lives during COVID and the stresses of juggling work and home life and considered whether there was a way of maintaining their lifestyles but restoring more balance, he says.

“We have seen over the past six to 12 months a genuine uplift in salaries and opportunities for people. Perhaps it has allowed one spouse to leave the workforce while the other takes on more responsibility and a bigger salary.”

HR and senior management’s response to the Great Resignation has been to focus on retention. Like many companies, Beeline has seen a reduction in the number of job applicants (at the same point a year previously, Beeline had twice the number of job applicants for positions).

“Retaining people is critical. We know the cost of turnover and the cost of losing knowledge, so we have to focus on retention and that is connected to the level of engagement. So measuring that is also very important,” says Bradshaw.

In a global market for talent where people can work remotely from anywhere, HR professionals have  to be as creative as possible in attracting and retaining staff and that means doing things differently.  

One of those ‘different’ things is the contingent workforce which is no longer considered just useful for strategic work as it was in the past. Contingent or flexible workers bring in an enormous amount of experience and can often upskill full-time staff.

Retirees are another potential source of skills and knowledge as some might decide they are missing the stimulation that comes from working. “Having the flexibility to come back part time or utilise their skills for a fixed period may appeal to some and give a sense of accomplishment. Companies more open to that,” says Bradshaw.

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