As the US labor market grows tighter with each passing month and the labor participation rate declines, corporations like Ford, IBM, and Barclays are beginning to court experienced workers who are looking to return to the working world, reports Bloomberg.
The move marks a major reversal of fortune for America’s older workers, who suffered during the last recession and have been hit by age bias in the hiring process.
Companies are finding that many of these workers bring valuable experience and skills to the table, and they come at a discount. According to one study, workforce returnees cost 25% less than hiring comparable workers who currently hold jobs.
What’s new right now is that retirees who want to “unretire” and work part-time in retirement will find employers more receptive than ever about turning seasonal jobs into year-round, part-time work, according to an article by Chris Farrell on nextavenue.org.
The same opportunity holds for near-retirees looking for a part-time gig after they leave the employers where they worked full-time — so-called boomerangers.
What accounts for the shift in hiring attitude toward older workers? A skimpy unemployment rate of 4.1 percent. That’s changing the labor market “big time!” exclaims Tim Driver, founder and chief executive officer of Retirementjobs.com. “It’s difficult to find good workers right now.”
Adds Peter Harrison, CEO of Snagajob, the online hourly marketplace for employment: “This holiday season is an excellent time for older or retired individuals to get into the workforce to make extra money or pursue a next career.”
For more than 30 years, Bill Simonowicz drove his iconic UPS truck around the artsy Minnesota harbor town of Grand Marais delivering packages. He retired six years ago, but after two years away from the job, Simonowicz joined its holiday season workforce from Thanksgiving to Christmas. “It’s pretty easy work,” says Simonowicz, 58. “And there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
In recent years, he typically put in six-to-eight hour days during the busy holiday push. But with the recent rise in e-commerce deliveries, Simonowicz says he wouldn’t be surprised to work longer days this year.
He’s got company.
The giant packaging and delivery businesses are increasingly tapping into their retiree base to meet the holiday rush. “UPS actively went after its retirees,” says Simonowicz. Similarly, retailers like Target and Macy’s recruit heavily for the holidays and, although they don’t specifically look for retirees, many of their applicants are in the traditional retirement years.
“The retailers hire huge numbers of older workers as they find them reliable holiday employees,” says Art Koff, founder of Retired Brains, a website that offers employment and other information for retirees and people planning to retire. “Some retirees go back to work for retailers year after year.”
That’s partly because a number of retailers offer holiday workers a discount on merchandise, allowing them to buy gifts at substantial savings.