Retirees Return to the Workforce

Retired workers are choosing to work again for financial and social reasons.

October 16, 2023

Growing numbers of retirees are returning to the workforce, especially after many were forced to retire during the pandemic, according to a report from T. Rowe Price. The study shows that around 20% of retirees are working either full- or part-time, while 7% are currently looking for employment.

In a statement to Yahoo! Finance, Judith Ward, certified financial planner and thought leadership director at T. Rowe Price, said that “in 2021, during the pandemic, that percentage was 10%. They might have been forced to retire, and now we’re seeing that they are re-entering the workforce.”

The decision to return to work comes down to retirement lifestyles and financial lives, said T. Rowe Price. Of those working in retirement, 48% felt they needed to work for financial reasons while 45% chose to work for social and emotional benefits.

"Many people retired during the pandemic for a variety of reasons and the financial reality of that is now hitting home," Chris Farrell, author of "Unretirement" and "Purpose and a Paycheck," told Yahoo! Finance. "Working even a few hours a week can help shore up household finances."

Farrell stated that they are taking advantage of the tight labor market to find work, “often by picking up part-time work, flexible gigs, starting their own business and even encore careers.”

Part-time work is also seen as a good transition strategy, with 57% of retirees wanting to continue working in some form, according to the report.

"A lot of us want to work part-time in retirement," Ricard Eisenberg, a recent retiree, said to Yahoo! Finance. "We want to stay active, have social connections, bring in some income and to stay mentally engaged, but we also want to have time to do other things."