New ONS Data Finds Over Two Thirds of Over 50s Are Returning to Work Due to Cost-of-Living-Crisis

Older Workers

‘Unretirement’ is fast becoming a global phenomenon – with many retirees returning to the workplace for several different reasons, including financial, social and for mental health.

New ONS data released today found that 67% of over 50s are considering returning to the workplace for financial reasons, whilst 46% would return for social reasons. 42% of those surveyed were keen to return to employment to improve their mental health.

Now, new research from Lottie has found a surge of retirees searching online for support with returning to the workplace over the last 12 months:

  • 680% increase in online searches for ‘unretirement’
  • 400% increase in online searches for ‘retirees going back to work’
  • 21% increase in online searches for ‘part time work for retirees’


“It’s no surprise we’ve seen a surge of retirees heading back to work from the latest ONS release and Lottie’s new research. Inflation is on the rise, the cost-of-living has tripled, and most people across the UK are paying higher bills for utilities, with little support from the Government, shares Will Donnelly, Co-Founder and Later Living Expert at Lottie.

On the other hand, sometimes the reasons for returning to work from retirement can be positive. People are living longer, and after the coronavirus pandemic, many older workers unretire because of the many health and wellbeing benefits. From workplace outings to staying connected, work can boost your socialisation and keep you staying connected, which is hugely important in later life.

Over the next few years, the trend of retirees returning to work will increase even further, especially if workplaces offer genuine support for those keen to return.  From providing practical, financial, and emotional support businesses must work hard to create age friendly workplaces to reap the rewards of ‘unretirement.”


Meet The UK Retirees Returning to the Workforce:

Female (65)

What made you decide to ‘unretire’? Was this driven by financial, social, or career reasons?

I had always planned to return to work part time after retirement, the decision was partly financial but mostly to do with retaining structure to my week and because I love my work and I’m not ready to give it up completely.


How did you find returning to the workplace after retiring?

Really easy, my managers were supportive and were able to give me the hours I was prepared to work. An unexpected result was that I have a much more relaxed attitude towards work and work policies.


What are the benefits you’ve found from ‘unretiring’?

My mind is kept active, I feel useful, I continue to do something I enjoy on a regular basis. I have a sense of pride in continuing to contribute to the NHS. I have money to spend on loved ones and I have great holidays and a better life financially.


What would your advice be to someone that is considering ‘unretirement’?

I would honestly say just do it, especially if you have supportive managers.


Female (65)

What made you decide to ‘unretire’? Was this driven by financial, social, or career


When I was eligible for my NHS pension, I decided to retire due to the poor management and wanting to work fewer hours. Whilst I was still working, I saw my ideal job being advertised. It was more hours than I wanted but there wasn’t a choice. I needed to supplement my pension. So I guess it was both a career and financial decision.


How did you find returning to the workplace after retiring?

It was a little challenging to fit into a new workplace especially as I am the only person doing my job. I had to develop a new service in an environment that didn’t really understand what I do. But I guess that would be the same for anyone. Also getting used to several new IT systems.


What are the benefits you’ve found from ‘unretiring’?

The benefits are financial, doing a job I really enjoy, working with great clients and some lovely staff. I am not micromanaged. It has helped to structure my week but has also given me insight into what I may need to do to prepare for my retirement (such as new classes).


Did you come across any challenges returning to work after retiring?

The main challenge was to become comfortable in the new workplace, not knowing the politics that may impact on you and learning new IT skills.


What would your advice be to someone that is considering ‘unretirement’?

If someone is unretiring I would suggest that they do a job that will give them pleasure, one that does not impose any restrictions on your life, (such as limiting when you can go on annual leave, changing your working hours) and doesn’t impact on your family life (caring for grandchildren).


Here’s How To Protect Your Health and Wellbeing As You Head Back To Work, According to Lottie’s Will Donnelly

Returning to work after taking some time off can be overwhelming, but there are small steps you can take to look after your health and wellbeing.


1. Plan ahead

Preparing yourself to return to work before your first day back can help to settle any worries or nerves. From staying in touch with colleagues, chatting to your manager about your role, and responsibilities can help. You could even plan a visit to your workplace before you start so you can become familiar with your working environment.


2. Ease back into a working routine

After taking a break from full time employment, it can be a shock to your system to adjust to a new routine. You could discuss the option of a phased return to work – this will allow you to gradually ease into a new routine.

Similarly, returning to work on a part time basis can offer all the benefits of employment such as financial security, staying connected to colleagues and a daily routine whilst also enjoying free time in your later years.


3. Prioritise your health and wellbeing

Make sure you’re taking care of your health, from eating well to exercising regularly and taking care of your mental health.

Spending your free time to continue to challenge yourself mentally, whether it’s learning an instrument, a new language or skill can boost your wellbeing and confidence. As well as create the opportunity to meet new people.


4. Seek Support

Even when you plan ahead, returning to work can take time to adjust to. Plan regular catch ups with your manager – this can help you to share how you’re feeling and together you can create a work schedule that works for you.

Don’t be afraid to ask for support, whilst you’ve been away, people, processes and technologies in the workplace may have changed – remember it’s okay to ask for help.