When and Why Do Employers (Re)Hire Employees Beyond Normal Retirement Age?

Orlaith C. Tunney*, Jaap Oude Mulders

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)
    41 Downloads (Pure)


    Older workers are increasingly being encouraged to work beyond normal retirement age (NRA). Given that employers generally control opportunities for employees to work beyond NRA, better understanding their motivations, attitudes, and experiences in (re)hiring employees to work beyond NRA is vital. To date, however, research investigating employment beyond NRA has primarily focused on the perspective and experiences of employees. In this study, we analyzed data from a 2017 survey of 1,214 Dutch employers to examine whether workplace social norms, employers' concerns related to workforce aging, and structural organizational characteristics were related to whether or not they employed working retirees. We found that workplace norms about working beyond NRA, concerns about career opportunities for younger workers, and structural characteristics such as organizational size, sector, and proportion of female and older workers in the organization were significantly associated with whether or not organizations employed workers beyond NRA. In the second, exploratory, phase of our analysis, we investigated attitudes and approaches toward workers beyond NRA among those who had previously employed such workers. Most employers agree that they mainly (re)hire workers with unique knowledge or experience to work beyond NRA and that employees usually take the initiative in prolonging employment. Employers' opinions on whether employees working beyond NRA should accept a pay cut or block the progress of other employees are more mixed. Insights gained from the current research can help guide future research and policy to support longer working lives, from both employee and employer perspectives, even beyond normal retirement age.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)25-37
    Number of pages13
    JournalWork, Aging and Retirement
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan-2022


    • older workers
    • labor market
    • retirement
    • employment
    • organizations
    • EUROPE
    • TRENDS
    • IMPACT

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