Employers are finding a willing workforce in retirees who are not quite ready to quit working altogether.

A study commissioned by Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement found that 59% of baby boomers in the Midwest plan to work beyond age 65 and the majority of them are happy about it.

In previous generations, retirement meant quitting your job and completing items on your bucket list, like travel and spending more time with family. But the baby boomers hold an entirely different view of work and retirement and are “just as likely or more likely to be engaged in their work than are the younger Generation X or millennial generations,” according to New Expectations, New Rewards: Work in Retirement for Middle-Income Boomers.

Also see: Longevity the focus of new training program for benefit pros

Many continue on with their current employer but others are looking at retirement as an opportunity to change careers entirely.

“The changes in the social expectations for retirement have implications for employers … Employers will need to ask themselves what role a highly experienced, part-time workforce can play in their organization,” says the report. “They should understand what elements of the employer-employee contract are most important to retired boomers.”

The survey found that almost two-thirds of Midwest boomers are working because they want to, not because they have to. That’s 4 percentage points higher than boomers across the U.S.

Sixteen percent said they continue to work because it helps them stay mentally fit and physically active. Fifteen percent said it gives them a sense of purpose.

Also see: Baby boomers redefine war for talent

More than half of the nation’s boomers make much less per hour in retirement, but 78% said they are more satisfied with their jobs than non-retirees, the survey found. In the Midwest, 88% were very satisfied with their jobs, with 69% more or slightly more satisfied and 19% as satisfied as they were in pre-retirement work.

Nearly nine in 10 boomers who are still employed during their retirement years are working fewer hours and they enjoy that flexibility.

“Boomers in the Midwest are re-entering the job market willingly,” says Scott Goldberg, president of Bankers Life. “With nearly nine in 10 ‘as satisfied’ or ‘more satisfied’ with their careers during retirement, boomers in the Midwest are poised to reap the financial and health benefits of working during their golden years.”

Sixty-seven percent of Boomers in the Midwest describe their job as part-time compared to 59% of Boomers across the nation. Outside the Midwest, retirees are more likely to work freelance or own their own business, Bankers Life found.

Also see: Baby boomers, Gen Xers boost retirement income levels

Employed retirees reported lower stress levels and better relationships than nonworking retirees.

Poor health was the biggest reason retirees stated for leaving the workforce earlier than expected, followed by being laid off or quitting to take care of a loved one.

Boomers who have not retired yet “have unrealistic expectations about compensation and the work arrangements they will be able to find,” the study found. Only 21% of non-retired boomers said they would be willing to take a pay cut for their work in retirement and more than half of currently employed retirees reported making much less per hour in retirement.

Ninety-four percent of non-retirees who said they plan to work in retirement said they would be interested in flex time or telecommuting, but only 37% of currently employed retirees have such an arrangement, the survey found.

Paula Aven Gladych is a freelance writer based in Denver.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Employee Benefit Adviser content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access