Should You Include Retirees in Your Directly Sourced Talent Pools? | DCR Workforce Blog

Should You Include Retirees in Your Directly Sourced Talent Pools?

Aging is inevitable, and none of us is immune to its effects. Every one of us is inching close to that retiree line and, no matter what you determine as your cutoff age, we will get there sooner or later. Yet full retirement is a luxury afforded to a select few, in these days of dwindling savings and non-existent retirement plans. So what is your take on sourcing someone who is past the official retirement age? Would your scrutiny stop at a verification of the worker’s capabilities? Or will it stop right after you see the person’s graduation year on the application?

Only those people who are utterly opinionated would assume that aged workers work little between naps or that retirees reject things such as intellectual stimulation and personal development. Although there may be cases where an aging worker with dwindling physical strength may find it necessary to stay away from blue collar work. But in an economy where blue collar work is being replaced by knowledge-based, white collar work, the notion of retirement age itself is becoming outdated, and the number of companies hiring retirees is increasing.

The steady growth of labor participation from older workers (55 years and above) is clearly demonstrated by the following table, showing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The steady growth of labor participation from older workersHere are some great reasons why you should look at retirees in your directly sourced talent pools:

  • Cliché as it sounds, you cannot grow wise heads on young shoulders. As long as a person retains intellectual curiosity and ability to learn new things, they’ll be a good candidate.
  • Contingent work is a great option for many baby boomers who are not in a hurry to quit working. Many have the energy to continue to stay active.
  • Gig work enables retirees to take up projects that allows them work-life balance and enables them to do other things with their time besides leisure activities.
  • While not as growth-oriented as before to climb the corporate ladder, these workers are still as dedicated as ever to their jobs.
  • The accumulated years of experience, skills and wisdom prepare a knowledge worker to tackle tougher challenges, acquire better credentials and bring institutional know-how and leadership skills to the table.
  • Many companies are hiring retirees as consultants because they’re highly entrepreneurial and have the necessary background to make strategic decisions.
  • Thanks to their accumulated years of experience, many retirees prove themselves invaluable as trainers and mentors.
  • By returning to a company as alumni, contingent workers can contribute to the best of their abilities and save the time needed to train a new worker to get up to speed on the learning curve.
  • Retirees also fit in the company’s culture, thanks to their familiarity with the workplace.

With the impending wave of baby boomers departing their full-time jobs, many companies will face a critical loss of specific skills and intellectual capital essential to effective performance. Of course, many employers today are getting wiser to the fact that it makes absolutely no sense to let an employee go just because they celebrated one more birthday. They’re requesting retirees to be on-call or asking them to come back either on a part-time basis or as a contingent worker.

This flexibility gives retirees options so they can enjoy partial retirement along with work opportunities – whatever role meets their specific needs. Additionally, if provided with the circumstances and the right environment, baby boomers and millennials can learn from each other, ultimately enhancing both parties’ skill sets and careers — not to mention the cultural benefits and morale boost of an all-ages workforce.

Beware the employer caveats in hiring retirees

Employers need to exercise caution when re-engaging alumni as misclassification is a real risk. Heed the following points:

  • When hiring a retired worker as contingent worker you need to ensure that they are classified properly.
  • Any existing benefit plans (healthcare, pension, etc.) will require a careful review to ensure regulatory compliance.
  • Some older workers may require accommodations, keeping their unique health needs in mind.
  • Employers may need to abide by the tenets of ERISA (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974), and meet the minimum standards for most voluntarily established pension and health plans.

If you have a contingent workforce program managed by a Vendor Management System (VMS) such as Smart Track, the task of retaining alumni as contingent workers will not leave you agonizing about breaking any tax or labor laws or worrying about other risks.

Additionally, a VMS will make it easy for you to start an alumni program for your retired workers. Smart Track offers you Smart Track xCHANGE – a total non-employee talent ecosystem that simplifies the task of enrolling your retirees into the network and staying connected with them as an alumni talent pool on an ongoing basis.

To learn more, connect with us at so you avoid the perils of misclassification, while taking the full benefit of working with a knowledgeable, dependable retiree workforce.

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Kelly has worked in the Staffing Industry for more than 25 years and helps clients with creating strategies for Vendor Management Systems. Her strong suit is building relationships and trust with external and internal clients. When not working, she enjoys spending time with her son and two yellow labs, traveling and some good beach time.