Post-Retirement Employment

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Post-Retirement Employment

Key Takeaways

  • Singapore has implemented solutions to improve awareness, financial sustainability, and workplace suitability around post-retirement employment, which resulted in a jump in the employment rate among those aged 65+ from 13.8% to 25.5%.
  • The most commonly mentioned obstacles related to post-retirement growth are poor health, unsuitable and inflexible working conditions, a career focus that includes physical or easily automated tasks, and a lack of incentives for employers to hire older workers.
  • Motivations for pursuing unretirement include ensuring financial stability, finding meaning in the job, and socializing,


The report presents case studies of two governments successfully promoting post-retirement employment. They include the examples of Canada and Singapore. It also includes eight research papers and reports on motivations and obstacles to pursuing unretirement, along with two additional sources that provide relevant findings that are older than 24 months.

Post-Retirement Employment


  • The authors of the case study aren't named, but it was conducted by Employment and Social Development Canada.
  • A full list of contacts for the department, based on the request type, is available here.
  • According to the case study, older Canadians struggle in the job environment due to ageism, insufficient education and training, having issues with finding and applying for jobs, inadequate incentives to work in the retirement income scheme, and health or mental health-related problems.
  • Health or mental-health-related issues include lack of workplace accommodations, insufficient work-life balance, not being able to accommodate work and caretaking duties at the same time, inflexible working policies, and prejudices against employees with disabilities.
  • Also, concerning ageism, 20% of people aged 66+ report experiencing age discrimination.
  • The Older Workers Pilot Projects Initiative (OWPPI) combated ageism through awareness campaigns around employing older workers. There were also numerous local initiatives focused on the same goal, such as SHIFT: Nova's Scotia's Action Plan for an Aging Population in Nova Scotia and WorkBC Employer's Tool Kit in British Colombia.
  • Furthermore, regional governments in Canada launched financial incentives to combat ageism, including the Rate Drop Rebate pilot program in Ontario and wage subsidies for hiring older workers in Quebec.
  • Targeted Initiative for Older Workers (TIOW) by the Canadian government offered skills development for older workers based on regional needs.
  • It also provided employment services, though, since 2017, it was replaced by the Workforce Development Agreements.
  • Furthermore, since 2017, the federal budget has started allocating more funds to upskilling.
  • Canadian government has been trying to offer more incentives to work in the retirement income scheme with the increase of the Guaranteed Income Supplement earning, introducing an opportunity to delay taking up of the Old Age Security pension and get a higher one in the future and improving the flexibility of the Canada Pension Plan.
  • Measures related to workplace accommodations have mostly been regional. The provinces of Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Alberta have created best-practice guides for employers.
Success Metrics
  • While specific success metrics have not been provided for all the initiatives in the case study, it states that they have been successful based on their cost-effectiveness, evaluation outcomes, recognition in research or by stakeholders, and the scale of implementation.
  • Furthermore, it notes that awareness measures have improved employers' perceptions of the benefits of hiring older employees.
  • Also, the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers (TIOW) has been rated as satisfying by its participants.


  • The case study was published by the World Economic Forum.
  • The author is Lim Tze Jiat, Director of Workplace Policy and Strategy Division, Ministry of Manpower in Singapore.
  • Personal contact information is not available, but the Ministry of Manpower can be contacted at 6438 5122 or through one of the contact forms.
  • The challenges related to post-retirement employment in Singapore included unfavorable workplace policies, retirees not being able to work in physically-demanding jobs, and inflexible employment terms.
  • Furthermore, based on the contents of the case study, it can be assumed that a lack of awareness about the opportunities related to post-retirement employment is a barrier.
  • Additionally, financial pressures related to above-average life expectancy and insufficient retirement savings pose a challenge for Singaporean retirees. They are not an obstacle for post-retirement employment, but they are a major factor that inspires initiatives that promote post-retirement employment.
  • In 2012, the government issued the Retirement and Re-employment Act to improve employment opportunities for those aged 62+. It was meant to give workers and employers more flexibility, as opposed to legislations that increase the minimum retirement age.
  • Singapore also introduced Special Employment Credit, which offers financial incentives to employers that hire older workers. For instance, they can get wage subsidies up to 8% for employing those aged 55+ and a further 3% for those who are above re-employment age.
  • The WorkPro initiative offers grants to employers for implementing age management solutions and redesigning jobs to fit older workers.
  • Additionally, the government launched public education initiatives to improve employability and work circumstances for older adults.
Metrics of Success
  • The employment rate of people aged 65+ jumped from 13.8% to 25.5%.
  • 98% of employees wishing to unretire get job offers.

Obstacles and Motivations for Post-Retirement Employment

"Working at Older Ages"

  • "Working at Older Ages" is a policy brief published by the World Health Organization in 2019 (a more specific date is not available).
  • The report focuses on providing policy recommendations for increasing older people's capacity to work longer. It stresses the importance of not deferring retirement age but providing seniors with opportunities to willingly go back to work, e.g., through bridge retirement.
  • It emphasizes that health-related factors may be both a major obstacle and an opportunity. Older adults frequently struggle with disabilities and mental health issues.
  • Therefore, the main driver for coming back to work can be a workplace that can accommodate their unique needs by providing mental health and disability support, including facilitating coming back from medical leave related to them.
  • The authors aren't named, but the report is attributed to the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe. It can be contacted at +45 39 17 17 17 or

"Attitudes towards working in retirement: a latent class analysis of older workers’ motives"

  • A research paper, "Attitudes towards working in retirement: a latent class analysis of older workers’ motives," was published in the European Journal of Aging on October 9, 2020.
  • Based on a survey among German retirees, the study notes that there are four groups of motives for unretiring, which are financial, status-related, contact and fun-related, and generativity-related.
  • It also states that lower qualifications, gender, and unfavorable company policies may be a barrier to post-retirement employment.
  • The paper emphasizes that, overall, retired individuals who consider going back to work shouldn't be treated as a unified group. The preferences vary greatly based on their health and social status.
  • However, most retired people are more likely to go back to work if they perceive it as meaningful.
  • Additionally, the majority expect flexible working arrangements, with an average of 17 hours of work per week, spread over 2-3 days.
  • It was authored by Moritz Hess from the Hochschule Niederrhein University of Applied Science, Laura Naegele from the University of Vechta, and Jana Mäcken from the University of Cologne.
  • Contact information is only available for Moritz Hess, who can be reached at

"Money also is sunny in a retiree’s world: financial incentives and work after retirement"

  • The research paper "Money also is sunny in a retiree’s world: financial incentives and work after retirement" was published in the Journal for Labor Market Research on October 7, 2021.
  • It states that the growth of post-retirement employment can be attributed to the mix of individual, social, and economic factors.
  • The paper focuses specifically on the importance of the financial aspect in making a decision to go back to work after retirement, based on a large-scale study of 2% of German retirees.
  • According to the results, the financial factor is a better motivator for men compared to women. It is also more important for those who need post-retirement earnings for achieving a sufficient disposable income. Furthermore, it tends to be more valued by those who worked until full retirement instead of using partial retirement opportunities.
  • This group may be more interested in coming back to work if the government provides them with attractive tax incentives.
  • The authors are Svenja Lorenz and Thomas Zwick from Faculty of Business Management and Economics, University of Würzburg, Germany.
  • Zwick can be contacted at Lorenz's email is not available.

"Retirement transitions in the 21st century: a scoping review of the changing nature of retirement in Europe"

  • A research paper, "Retirement transitions in the 21st century: a scoping review of the changing nature of retirement in Europe," was published in the International Journal of Ageing and Later Life on June 9, 2021.
  • It states that the decision to go back to work can steam from either necessity or opportunity. It should be viewed in a wider context of "national policies, general economic context, labor market conditions and a range of individual-level factors."
  • Specific policy-related factors that have either stalled or promoted post-retirement employment in Europe include removing barriers for vulnerable groups, maintenance or reducing of employment rights past retirement age, and raising the minimum retirement age.
  • The authors are Aske Juul Lassen and Karsten Vrangbæk.
  • Lassen can be contacted at or +4522920212.
  • Vrangbæk can be contacted at or +4535337329.

"Unretirement in the 2010s: Prevalence, Determinants, and Outcomes"

  • A report, "Unretirement in the 2010s: Prevalence, Determinants, and Outcomes," was published by the US Department of Labor and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics on September 16, 2020.
  • The paper provides an overview of existing literature on unretirement and factors that support it, including conclusions such as that healthy people with higher education and retiring at a younger age are more likely to go back to the workforce. At the same time, the likelihood of unretirement decreases the higher the retirement income.
  • According to the analysis, at least in the US, changing economic conditions don't have a major impact on unretirement decisions. However, since bridge employment is the most popular post-retirement choice, increasing related opportunities can grow the interest in employment after retirement.
  • The authors are Kevin E. Cahill, Michael D. Giandrea, and Joseph F. Quinn.
  • Cahill can be contacted at or 208-515-3353.
  • Giandrea can be contacted at (202) 691-5628 or through a contact form.
  • Quinn can be reached at or 617-552-2022.

"Returning to Work: The Role of Soft Skills and Automatability on Unretirement Decisions"

  • A research paper, "Returning to Work: The Role of Soft Skills and Automatability on Unretirement Decisions," was published on July 8, 2021.
  • The article states that the higher automatibility of the retirees' jobs and competencies poses an increasingly major obstacle to their post-retirement employment. Those who are resistant to automation also find unretirement more enticing.
  • It also notes that financial insecurity is the prime motivator of going back to work after retirement, while psychological issues are a factor that discourages unretirement.
  • Furthermore, the report implies that the development of soft skills in older individuals increases the likelihood of their interest in post-retirement employment.
  • The author is Zeewan Lee, who can be contacted at or +65 6516 5830.

"Employees’ Longer Working Lives in Europe: Drivers and Barriers in Companies"

  • A research paper, "Employees’ Longer Working Lives in Europe: Drivers and Barriers in Companies," was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health on February 26, 2020.
  • It explores major drivers and barriers for post-retirement employment on the organizational side.
  • According to it, in Europe, mid-sized and large companies are more likely to hire retirees, while small companies are more reluctant to do it.
  • Furthermore, it encourages policy changes to provide more incentives to employers that hire retired individuals and enforce HR measures related to post-retirement employment. Both of those factors contribute to the decline of growth of employment after retirement.
  • The authors are Andrea Principi (, Jürgen Bauknecht (, Mirko Di Rosa (, and Marco Socci (

"Impact of meaningful work on elderly people’s intention to continue working after retirement: A Vietnamese study"

  • A research paper, "Impact of meaningful work on elderly people’s intention to continue working after retirement: A Vietnamese study," was published on May 5, 2020.
  • The article emphasizes that a major barrier to pursuing post-retirement employment is not finding meaning in the work environment.
  • At the same time, primary motivations for unretirement are related to the meaning of work, including "positive meaning, making meaning through work, and greater good motivations."
  • The authors believe that while many factors influence coming back to work after retirement (including psychological, financial, demographic, and family-related, among others), deeper research into the correlation between psychological readiness to unretire and the perceived meaningfulness of the job can result in improving post-retirement opportunities.
  • The authors are Thi Mai Huong Doan, Huong Quynh Pham, and Thi Mai Phuong Tran.
  • Thi Mai Huong Doan can be contacted at

"To Work or not to Work: Factors Affecting Bridge Employment Beyond Retirement, Case of Lithuania"

  • The research paper, "To Work or not to Work: Factors Affecting Bridge Employment Beyond Retirement, Case of Lithuania," was published on January 6, 2020.
  • It focuses on motivations and barriers to re-entering the workforce after retirement in Lithuania, based on the administrative data. The recommendations are supposed to inspire related policy changes.
  • The paper puts an emphasis on working conditions. Individuals whose professions involve restrictive postures or physical work are less likely to choose post-retirement employment, as opposed to those who have mental occupations and higher positions.
  • It suggests that improving working conditions for older people could increase their participation in the workforce post-retirement.
  • Furthermore, it notes that the overall lower participation of women in unretirement in Lithuania is tied to their worse financial situation. Based on this conclusion, it recommends initiatives directed at female retirees in particular.
  • The author is Kristina Zitikytė, who can be contacted at

Additional Findings

  • The sources were included as additional because they are older than 24 months.

"Inequalities in employment rates among older men and women in Canada, Denmark, Sweden and the UK"

  • A research paper, "Inequalities in employment rates among older men and women in Canada, Denmark, Sweden and the UK," was published in BMC Public Health on March 19, 2019.
  • It includes a comparative study related to older age employment barriers and opportunities in the UK, Sweden, Denmark, and Canada.
  • The study reaches the conclusion that people with poor health and low education, as well as women, are much less likely to pursue employment post-retirement.
  • Therefore, the policy recommendation is that governments should look beyond financial incentives and focus on encouraging workplaces to accommodate the needs of individuals with disabilities and poor health.
  • The authors are Ashley McAllister, Lee Bentley, Henrik Brønnum-Hansen, Natasja Koitzsch Jensen, Lotta Nylen, Ingelise Andersen, Qing Liao, Theo Bodin, Cameron Mustard, and Bo Burström.
  • Ashley McAllister can be contacted at

"UnRetire Yourself: North American Research Report"

  • "UnRetire Yourself: North American Research Report" was published by Home Instead, Inc. in 2018.
  • The report presents the results of a survey that reveal major motivations for unretiring in North America. They are financial stability (for 72% of the unretired), fighting boredom (for 43%), and keeping the mind sharp or socializing (for 22%).
  • It is also worth noting that 65% of those who opted for unretirement have changed their career path or are planning to do so.
  • While authors are not specified, Home Instead can be contacted at (888) 331-3242 or through a contact form.

Research Strategy

We've identified the case studies by searching government websites, websites of nonprofit organizations, reports by research organizations, and similar. For reports and research papers, we searched academic databases, reports by research and nonprofit organizations, and government sources.

Some of the reports, papers, and case studies only disclosed organizations that commissioned or conducted them or revealed authors for which contact information wasn't available. While we conducted additional research through their institutions' websites, email finders, and business or academic databases, we haven't been able to identify names and contact information for some of the authors. In these cases, we included contact data for the organization or department.

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