Your Post-Retirement Career

Published on: 25 Feb 2013

How long we can expect to work during our lifetime and the age at which we can retire remains a hot topic.

On the one hand, UK pensions are in crisis: many of us will be compelled to work longer to ensure we can provide for ourselves during our older years. On the other hand, people in the UK are living longer and healthier lives, as well as re-examining some of the negative aspects of retirement. All of these factors contribute to the country’s employment economy where more than 900,000 people over the age of 65 have a job.

If you are in, or approaching, retirement, considering continuing to work or are about to re-join the workforce, the following guide will help you to prepare and consider the options that lie ahead.

Is it time for retirement?

The default retirement age has been abolished, meaning employers must be able to clearly justify any compulsory retirement age that may appear in an employment contract. Many employers would prefer to keep you on anyway, since your experience and seniority are assets which they may have been investing in for a number of years. If you are approaching retirement age and you are not sure whether you wish to stop working, you should discuss the matter with your employer. It may be possible to take a phased retirement, reducing your time or responsibilities.

A change of pace, a change of job

If you cannot continue in your current position, or you simply want to try something new, it’s important to start considering where you might go ahead of your actual retirement date. The old adage that it’s ‘easier to find work when you’re in work’ rings truer than ever when you reach retirement age. Present employment proves you are fit and able to work, and your references will be able to offer further proof of this.

Proving capability when out of work

Job hunters at the beginning of their working lives are increasingly called upon to demonstrate their suitability for a role through extracurricular activities, for example, volunteering, sports teams, amateur dramatics and gap years. With a number of years work experience under your belt there could be a temptation to allow careers to push these kind of interests off CVs and out of your work/life balance, but in later life they are perhaps even more useful.

If you have been recently out of employment, consider how your day-to–day activities demonstrates transferable skills that will be useful for the position you are applying for.

Finding the right position

Before hunting for jobs, you may find it useful to be guided by what you actually want to achieve from getting a job at this point in your life. Common reasons include:

  • Having extra money so you can enjoy your retirement more in the long-term
  • Staying physically active
  • Meeting and interacting with others
  • Maintaining a professional profile in a sector you’ve loved working in
  • Trying something entirely new professionally without the obligation to provide an income for yourself and your family
  • Learning something new and keeping your mind stimulated
  • Seeking opportunities to travel
  • Seeking opportunities to give something back to the community

As well as having a clear idea as to what you want to achieve, you also need to consider what you are willing to invest, for example:

  • How many hours are you willing to commit to
  • How will you balance work/life commitments
  • Are you willing to retrain to achieve your goals?

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong job for a person in, or approaching, retirement and there are plenty of attractive roles for those in senior employment. We’ve listed some ideas below to help inspire your next move.

Consultancy jobs

Your multitude of experience will remain an asset for years to come. Consultancy work is typically paid at high hourly rates, with fantastic flexibility and only as many hours as you are willing to work. If you retired at the peak of your expertise, you can capitalise on it for much of the rest of your years.

Retail jobs

Working on a shop floor offers a chance to work on a flexible schedule, to meet new people and to be paid well. If you want to stay physically active, working in the stock room will keep you fit and well. Retail work isn’t just shelf-stacking in your local high-street chain - smaller, specialist businesses are crying out for enthusiastic part timers: you could explore new interests in books, flower arranging or catering, for example.

Tourism jobs

If you have lived in the same place for most of your life, working in the local tourist industry is a fantastic way to give something back to the community, while capitalising on a unique skillset: your expert local knowledge. You will meet hundreds of enthusiastic people, and there’s plenty of opportunity to learn even more about a place close to your heart. Equally, you may want to move somewhere entirely new and attain a well-informed love of a new place.

Academia or a new career

In the pursuit of a career, many will put aside the opportunity to progress with their studies. Regardless of the point at which you stopped formal education, you are never too old to pick up a subject you loved and to advance to the highest levels of academia. You may even simply be formalising a qualification in an area that you’ve already become an expert in by power of vocation.

This will in turn open up consultancy opportunities, or even the chance to become a lecturer. Alternatively, you could go back into education to retrain and explore a career you once abandoned or never had the chance to pursue.

Temp jobs and supply

Staff shortages, turnover and employees who take extended leave effect the operations of businesses in many industries. Having the flexibility to opt in and out of work will make you an asset to many agencies.

The above list is far from comprehensive: the important thing is to seek a role that suits your lifestyle in retirement and allows you to achieve personal goals in your later years. Browse our job database to discover where your career could take you next, and take a look at our general job seeker guides including advice on writing a great CV and ensuring interview success.