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Back to work, on their terms

back to workIt’s always been the case that some folks retire, then go back to work. Why? Maybe they get bored in retirement. Perhaps they feel isolated. Or they find that they don’t have as much money as they thought they would. Whatever the reason, there have always been folks looking to re-enter the workforce – and there have always been some employers that are willing to hire them.

But the developed world is beginning to experience what Japan has long been familiar with – an aging workforce, and close to full employment. In such an environment, employers find that they simply can’t rely completely on traditional workers. I wrote about this a few years ago – and it’s still an issue. A declining birth rate also contributes the challenges of enough workers, and one of the past ways of increasing workers, via immigration, has fallen out of favor in some countries. What other options do employers have – and how can job boards help them?

Japan has pointed to one option: hiring retirees. Instead of waiting for retirees to randomly re-enter the workforce, they have formally reached out to them and invited them back. This is smart for several reasons. Many retirees may not have considered working again, simply because their work history was not a happy memory – maybe they had mean bosses and rigid schedules. Others may not realize that flexible schedules and less-than-40 hour work weeks are more available now.

This is where job boards can help.

Why not include a ‘retirees welcome’ marker on those jobs where the employers want to hire retirees? Or offer a ‘retiree-friendly’ option to check when the job seeker searches on your site? Job boards aimed at retirees have been around a while – but options to find retiree-friendly positions haven’t shown up on most other job boards. Why not add some content on your site – just as you probably have when targeting other special groups, such as minorities or recent grads – that focuses on the options available to retirees who want to go back to work? One suggestion, though: spend some time talking to retirees who have returned to the workforce in your particular niche; learn what challenges they’ve faced, and what they have found rewarding. In other words, understand your target job seeker!

Of course, plenty of folks know exactly what they want to do in their retirement – and it may not include work. But sometimes, folks get surprised. And they go back to work!

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