At the end of the 2022 NFL season, after 22 seasons in the league and seven Super Bowl wins, Tom Brady – at age 44 – finally left it all on the field, hanging up his cleats and riding off into retirement. Then, just 40 days later, he was back – unretired. He had his reasons.
“These last two months, I’ve realized that my place is still on the field,” Brady announced via his social media accounts, “not in the stands.”
Research indicates that the future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback won’t be the only retiree who opts to return to work in the months, and perhaps years, ahead. A number of factors are building behind the wave of retired workers expected to return to the labor force, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. Historically, in times of a job surplus, more retirees have returned to the office. However, in 2022, with 5,000,000 more jobs than workers, the picture may look different than it has in the past.
Many companies that went to a remote work model at the outset of the pandemic have been reluctant to shift back or may be compromising with hybrid models, citing workers’ resistance to returning to the office. Retirees with grandchildren and travel plans, who have had their fill of the daily commute and 9-to-5, may be less likely than ever to compromise at a moment when workers have a leg up.
Freelancing and contract work are fast-growing segments of the labor pool. For the unretired, they represent an opportunity to get out of the stands and onto the field – but not at the cost of a flexible schedule. With gas prices on the rise and inflation at record levels in the U.S., contract work offers retirees the ultimate peace of mind: the ability to supplement a nest egg that may now seem too small for the long haul, while allowing them to avoid a full return to the working world.
For example, consider an accountant who has hung up her spreadsheets after saving for a comfortable retirement. Suddenly, the rising cost of goods and services threatens that plan. Despite making appropriate retirement plans, she begins to question whether she’ll have enough money set aside for that summer home, the luxury car, or even a rainy-day fund in case of emergency. Independent contracting could offer a happy medium. Our accountant can now work a limited number of hours as a freelancer, keeping busy only with work that she chooses, while padding her savings and continuing to enjoy a desirable lifestyle.
Those who come out of retirement in the current market should be met by companies offering a flexible work culture. Work-life balance is made easier by tools in the marketplace such as PeopleCaddie, an online talent cloud that can help the unretired to search and apply for open freelance positions, receive communications of employer needs and even handle invoicing. The ease of use, flexibility and availability of information detailing needs from various employers can ease the transition back to work for retirees and improve the likelihood that they’ll embrace a return to the workplace under the contractor model.
With the unique combination of employer needs and increasingly flexible contractor opportunities, the unretired will find no shortage of work – which can be done on their terms.
Thinking about unretiring? PeopleCaddie provides the perfect place to reenter the workforce. Check out how our talent cloud works.