Money is a key motivator for older workers returning to work as the merciless cost-of-living crisis increasingly bites, it has emerged.
The Office for National Statistics has published experimental data on the motivations for the over 50s to return to work.
Money is an important motivation to return to work for all groups, particularly younger groups, with 69 per cent of 50–54-year-olds citing it as a motivation. This compares to 62 per cent of 55–59-year-olds and 59 per cent of 60–65-year-olds.
Those aged 50 to 65 years who would consider returning to work said they initially left the workforce to retire (24 per cent), change of lifestyle (17 per cent), redundancy (17 per cent) and stress (15 per cent).
Stress and retirement
Stress was more commonly cited (21 per cent) in the 50-54 age group. Retirement was the key factor (35 per cent) for the 60-65 age group.
Those considering returning were less likely to be able to afford an unexpected, but necessary, expense (61 per cent) or own their house outright (57 per cent).
“The latest labour force data shows signs of an “unretirement” with older people who left the workforce during the pandemic starting to return,” said Helen Morrissey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown in the City.
She explained that “there are many reasons why this could be – some people will have realised they miss the social interaction and routine that work brings and so decide to return – but there is no getting away from the fact that money remains a prime motivator.”
The pandemic made many people examine their lifestyles, and some may have thought they had enough saved to leave a stressful job behind and retire.
The subsequent cost-of-living crisis has undermined this, with spiralling costs meaning many need to return to work to boost their retirement savings and supplement their day to day living costs.
A sizeable proportion of this group chose to exit the workforce to retire during the pandemic, but it’s also fair to say that many didn’t have the same degree of control over their workforce exit as they were made redundant or left due to stress,” Morrissey said.
“Many still report having mortgages and debt to repay and they will need more support to help them back into work,” she continued.
Added to this, over two-thirds (68 per cent) of those looking to return for the money reported they did not have the necessary job skills to help them find a different role and so it is clear there is a real gap here that needs to be filled in terms of helping older workers re-skill and giving them the confidence to get back out into the workforce.
” Government has said it will focus on helping older workers get back into the workforce and this will be vital for those groups in the financial limbo of needing to return to the workforce but feeling they lack the skills to do so,” Morrissey concluded.