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People are coming out of retirement due to cost-of-living crisis

The Great Unresignation as inflation forces hordes of retirees back into work

A sustained upswing in the cost of living is forcing hundreds of thousands of retirees across Britain to reconsider a return to the workplace.

According to a poll of 2,000 people, all at least 66 years old, 6 percent are likely to seek employment in the coming month to top up their pension pot or help pay the bills, they told My Pension Expert.

There are 12.2 million retirees in the UK [PDF], so this could equate to roughly 730,000 people back on the jobs market in the months ahead – if the study is correct.

The mini research found 12 percent saying inflation had "upended" their retirement plans, and a little more than a third were concerned about being able to sustain the lifestyle they most wanted. Around 46 percent said they are confident in their current economic situation.

Inflation is up 9.9 percent year-on-year in Britain and is forecast to be 15 percent or higher by the beginning of 2023. The consumer price index in the US was up 8.3 percent. Rising energy and food prices, as well as an increase in interest rates, are all weighing heavy on household spending.

"As the cost-of-living crisis bites harder, we're seeing a worrying spike in 'unretirement'. It's a hugely important issue – after working and saving for decades, having to re-enter the workforce will be a bitter blow to many retirees," said Andrew Meson, exec chairman at My Pension Expert.

"The reality is that many people's pension pots are losing value in real-terms amid sky-high inflation. And as such, their hard-earned retirement funds won't stretch as far or sustain the same lifestyle."

The research didn't specify which professions would see an influx of people over 66.

Britain's Office of National Statistics says median annual pay for full-time employees was £31,285 ($34.9k) last year, but the average pay in IT is considerably higher at about £47,000 ($52.5k). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median wage for workers in the United States in the second quarter of 2022 was about $54,132 per year.

Depending on tech industry segment, financial remuneration can run into hundreds of thousands for those with highly sought skills and at the other end of the spectrum can be mid-20s or lower for junior Helldesk personnel.

There is a perennial skills shortage in the IT industry, so there are vacancies to fill, even in the current climate when vendors are being more careful in how and where they spend money. Those returning to work may need to brush up their skills but then that's a feature for many professionals aged below 66.

As someone posted on Hacker News a year ago, older staffers often have a deeper understanding of the technology they are working with, the business processes, and also have the maturity to work with colleagues in a productive way.

"The only way that age becomes a detriment is if you do not grow," they said.

According to job listings website Indeed, so-called "unretirements" dipped during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak, but are on the up due to high inflation, a tighter labor market, and reduced concerns about the pandemic.

In March 2022, 3.2 percent of workers who had retired a year earlier were back in work. If this latest research is correct, that'll only increase.

Let us know in the comments what you think. ®

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