Older workers are rethinking what they want in a job, and — in some cases — that might mean a new beginning. According to a recent Harris Poll survey, 79 percent of hiring managers say they see more older workers vying for entry-level jobs compared with three years ago.
The reasons older workers are taking on entry-level jobs can be as varied as the employees themselves, recruiters say, but finances are front and center. Although these positions typically mean taking a lower salary, the income from an entry-level job can delay living entirely off retirement savings.
“With the cost of living and inflation, many retirees are going back into the workforce to supplement their income,” says Trevor Bogan, regional director of the Americas at Top Employer Institute in Charleston, South Carolina. “Many people saw their retirement savings take a hit.”
Many older adults believe they don’t have enough money to quit working altogether. A study Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research released this year found that half of the nation’s working-age households won’t have enough money to maintain their standard of living in retirement.
Health care costs can also be a concern for workers who aren’t old enough to qualify for Medicare. “Entry-level jobs can provide health insurance plans that cover the cost for prescriptions and routine physicals,” Bogan says.
Businesses value older workers ‘soft skills’
Age discrimination often prevents older adults from landing jobs at the same level as their recent employment or higher. Among the hiring managers in the Harris Poll, however, 60 percent said they prefer hiring older candidates.
That’s not surprising, says Izzy Kharasch, 63, president of Hospitality Works, a bar and restaurant consulting company based in Chicago. He says hiring older workers can be a win-win for both companies and employees.