Tips for Older Adults Considering Returning to Work 

August 10, 2022
Several economic factors have led more older adults to make a return to the workforce or contemplate a return. Some are looking to pad their retirement, others want to support their families, while others are looking for a way to stay connected and active in this new stage of life.

Either way, older adults are filling important gaps in the country’s job market and data show that the number of people 75 and older returning to work is only expected to increase. As companies continue to make pandemic-related changes to their business models, it’s critical that hiring managers and companies shift the way they view and value older adult workers. 

If you are considering a return to work, here are a few things to consider or keep in mind: 

  1. Flexibility – As more and more companies and jobs allow for partial or remote work, it can open up new opportunities for older adults who might otherwise not be able to commute to the office. Instead, you can work from home or work a hybrid schedule. Similarly, HR hiring managers are more open to offering workers different kinds of flexibility. If you are an older adult who is a caretaker or have other familial responsibilities, ask about what they can offer you. 
  2. Pay – If you are open to returning to work, you may be looking to pad your savings or address the rising costs of goods. This means you might be willing to earn a little less in exchange for more flexible work hours, remote-work options, or other benefits. Be open to what’s possible while highlighting the value you can bring. 
  3. Lean Into Your Experience – Hiring managers should know that experience means wisdom and reliability. Having years or decades of work experience means you know how to handle a lot of situations and you know how to deliver results. Lean into that aspect of your work history, highlighting this value that you could bring to a team. 
  4. Dispel Ageist Stereotypes – Unfortunately, ageism is everywhere. A recent study finds nearly all adults experience some form of ageism in their day-to-day lives. Make sure that if you hear it being expressed in a question, flip the stereotype on its head. Being older means more experience, it does not mean you don’t know how to use technology or that you can’t adapt and learn new things – all of which can be common assumptions people make about older adults. Years or decades of experience illustrates how many times you’ve changed and adapted. And a growing number of stories highlight the way older adults are extremely tech savvy, navigating Zoom, FaceTime, social media, and texting with ease. 
  5. Highlight Intergenerational Collaboration – Studies show that intergenerational teams are more effective and efficient at accomplishing goals. A growing number of hiring managers are recognizing the importance of age diversity as they build teams.

We talked about all of these issues in GenSpace’s Good for Business panel. Economic and workforce experts outlined many examples of older adults defying stereotypes in the workplace and former executives outlined the power intergenerational teams provide to their companies.

Watch the panels here, including our conversation with Judge Judy about her secret to a long and successful career. Stay tuned for more programming from GenSpace’s Leadership Initiative about how we’re working to change the way people view aging.

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Explore our news round-up from September 2023, examining stories about older adults and aging in America.
Explore our news round-up from August 2023, examining stories about older adults and aging in America.

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