Cresta Insights

Why Hire Retirees for Temporary Assignments?

The employment market is hot, you are having trouble finding qualified temporary staff, and your organization has become a revolving door as your temporary staff finds full-time employment and leaves. As a retiree, you are not ready to spend the next 20+ years playing golf all day or sitting on the couch watching TV. What is the solution for the employer and the retiree? The solution could be to hire a retired worker.

Benefits of Hiring a Retired Worker

The Wall Street Journal reported that 68% of current workers stated they intend to work in some capacity after they retire. Hiring seniors can be an advantage to your overall workforce strategy. According to Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao, “Nowhere is the case stronger for tapping the strengths of older workers than with employers facing the skills gap. Everywhere I go, employers tell me they are having difficulty finding workers with the right skill sets for the jobs they have to offer.”

Retired professionals are highly skilled in their respective fields with a strong work ethic and work history. In addition, they are usually open to part-time, project-based, or flexible work schedules. They also carry a lower risk of leaving an assignment for another job. An experienced worker may be able to come in and mentor younger employees to help get them up to speed or provide a short-term answer to covering for someone out on leave.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the largest job growth since 2001 occurred among those 55 and older, with 3.2 million new workers. This growth of retirees presents the opportunity to turn a negative scenario into a positive outcome for our economy and our wage earners.

Percentage Change in the U.S. Older Population, by Age Group:

Selected Time Periods, 1995 – 2010*

*Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports, P25-1130, “Population Projections of the United States, by Age, Sex, and Hispanic Origin: 1995 to 2050,” February 1996; and “U.S. Population Estimates, by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin: 1990 to 1994.”

Retirees Contribute to the success of your organization

Recent studies conducted by the AARP and reports published by The United States General Accounting Office state that a senior citizen’s greatest assets as an employee compared to the younger generation are:

•  Lower absenteeism
•  Lower likelihood of changing jobs
•  More eager to learn new skills
•  Punctuality
•  Commitment to quality
•  Better people skills and a positive attitude

In addition, older workers are not interested in climbing the corporate ladder, so there are no hidden agendas, office politics, or drama.

Why retire and then go back to work?

With the average life expectancy of a 60 year old now between the age of 81 and 84 (based on 2011 Social Security Actuary Table) retirees may not want to go back to a full-time job, but have years of experience to offer employers. Retirement doesn’t mean retirees have to stop working. More and more, this generation is “bridging” before retiring fully. Temporary work gives them the interaction and stimulation needed or the chance to choose another career path that involves the work they always wanted to do. Increasingly, retirees are discovering that a successful retirement, is a productive retirement.

According to a national study in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association, retirees who shift from full-time jobs to temporary positions experience fewer major diseases and perform better on a day-to-day basis than individuals who quit working completely. The findings showed that people whose post-retirement jobs were related to their previous careers reported better mental health than those who fully retired. “Choosing a suitable type of bridge employment will help retirees transition better into full retirement and in good physical and mental health,” said co-author Kenneth Shultz, PhD, adding that employers who are concerned about a labor shortage, due to numerous baby boomers retiring, might consider bridge employment options for their retirees.

Preparing for new opportunities

Retirees might try working in a contract job, or signing up with a temporary employment agency that allows them to work when, and where they wish. If it’s been a while since they searched for work, the internet offers many resources for preparing a resume, updating skill sets, researching opportunities, and interview preparation. Recruiters at staffing companies are also a good resource to use. They can help retirees assess skills and let them know about the jobs available in their area.

Benefits of continuing to work

One advantage to working on a temporary-basis is retirees working through staffing companies may be offered benefits. In California and other states, new laws require companies to pay sick leave and offer health insurance to W2 employees that meet certain criteria. This allows seniors who may not yet qualify for Medicare to receive health insurance while working a temporary job. They may also earn sick leave and in some cases may be eligible to enroll in a 401k plan, to defer income for when they can no longer work.

Another benefit of continuing to work is maintaining contact with their co-workers and meeting new people. If a retiree has worked their whole life, their friendships probably include coworkers and by continuing to work, retirees have the opportunity to forge new friendships.

Making extra money

Retirees may be in an excellent financial position to retire and the extra income may allow them to travel more, take up a new hobby, or help out family members. If they aren’t as financially prepared for retirement, working will provide extra income to make ends meet.

Does the extra income affect Social Security benefits?

For retirees receiving Social Security retirement benefits and who are younger than retirement age (65 to 67), benefits will be reduced if earnings are over a certain amount. Since the amounts change every year, it is always best to check with the Social Security Administration, ( Another benefit of delaying retirement is working may allow a retiree to postpone receiving Social Security benefits until a later date and increase their monthly social security benefit once the benefit is taken.

Will working affect the retiree’s pension?

Unless the retiree is planning to return to work with a former employer, pension benefits won’t be affected—they can work, receive a salary from a new employer, and also receive pension benefits from a former employer. However, retirees should be advised to check with their plan administrator to make sure there are no restrictions.

Hiring retired workers: a solid plan for both companies and retirees

Clearly, organizations can benefit immensely by bringing retirees onto their team. Retirees bring work ethic, a positive attitude, contagious loyalty, and a positive impact on company culture. They also fill the critical experience gap, not only in the work they provide but in the ability to mentor younger or less experienced colleagues and co-workers. For retirees, the benefits of bridge income through temporary or part-time work can provide a little extra money. Continuing to work also satisfies documented needs for self-actualization, a common missing piece to retirement, including a sustained contribution to the workforce, further relationship development, and even extended, healthier life spans. Given the preponderance of evidence and endorsements, building permanent part-time, or temporary retirees into the workforce will cultivate a balanced staff and a healthy, economically stable retired generation.