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4 Things to Know About Hiring Retirees for Contingent Roles

Ellen Julian
Oct 17, 2012, 5:58 pm ET

To acquire talent without the risks associated with full-time employees, organizations are using contingent workforce management expertise to engage with retired professionals for contingent and contract roles, gaining access to an underused crop of highly-skilled, knowledgeable talent.

This trend is part of a greater nationwide shift toward contingent work. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics currently ranks contingent work as one of the top five U.S. industries when ranked by employment growth.

The advantages of recruiting retirees for contingent assignments are numerous. Retirees represent a group of professionals who are seasoned and highly skilled in their respective fields. They also comprise a fairly stable source of workers.  Unlike their younger counterparts, most retirees aren’t seeking full-time positions, and carry lower risk of leaving an assignment mid-term for another job.

Still, there are unique considerations employers should factor in when evaluating whether to recruit a retiree for a single project or temporary period of time. There’s also an art to sourcing retirees.

Here are four recruiting tips employers can use to more successfully and easily hire and onboard retirees:

Stay in Touch With Employees When They Retire 

Continue engaging with retirees and alumni through an active network on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social platforms.  That way, recruiters will have a ready supply of potential contract workers who already possess company knowledge and high-level skill sets if needs arise.

Explore New Recruiting Channels

Retirees interested in reentering the workforce aren’t necessarily scouring the same recruitment websites as their younger cohorts. Employers should consider connecting with large retiree networks and organizations like the AARP; Dollar General, for one, has done so.

Expect Flexible Schedule Requests

Many retirees seeking work aren’t looking to return to working the number of hours they did earlier in their careers. They may be interested in working three or four days a week, or another nontraditional schedule. Inquiring about retired prospects’ scheduling before offering contract employment helps ensure that the individual’s preferences align with the organization’s needs.

Note Regulatory Requirements

While regulations and compliance rules are typically more stringent for full-time employees than contingent or part-time workers, contractors do subject employers to a number of federal laws related to compensation and benefits, such as the Equal Pay Act and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act as well as discrimination, labor, and state laws. Vetting these rules based on location and industry can help organizations avoid legal troubles.

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.

  1. Elizabeth Black

    A small but growing number of “retirees” are connecting with–a non-profit started by Marc Freedman to assist people with finding “purpose-filled careers in the second-half of life.” Freedman says, “Encore careers combine purpose, passion and a paycheck….Our real dream is to produce, together, a windfall of talent to help solve society’s greatest challenges, from education to the environment, health care to homelessness. Thanks to the experience dividend now being realized around the world, we have the time and energy to live a legacy, instead of just leaving one.” Both non-profit and for-profit companies have created Encore careers for employees who are thinking about retirement but who still want to be engaged and to do more “giving back.” You can find more information at

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    [...] there are a number of benefits to bringing back retirees as contingent workers, there are certainly challenges as well, a recent ERE Media blog post notes. While you may have some familiarity with former [...]

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