Baby Boomers Rejoining the Workforce in Record Numbers

Increasing numbers of baby boomers are returning to work, driven by economic necessity and a desire for purpose, redefining the traditional concept of retirement.

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The number of baby boomers re-entering the workforce reached a five year high in 2023, and this trend doesn’t seem to be stopping this year.  

Last year, the share of baby boomers returning to work rose by 23.9% since the year prior, according to a study by LinkedIn’s Economic Graph team. The data shows 13.2% of retirees exited retirement in 2023.  

The primary motivations include financial burdens, inflation and rising costs of living, social interactions and seeking a renewed sense of purpose. Interest rates are expected to remain relatively high this year, and LinkedIn reports many retirees have found that their savings are not enough to sustain a comfortable lifestyle, which compels retirees to seek additional income. 

Baby boomers were also found to be the most “purpose-driven” generation. LinkedIn’s research found that more than a third (34%) of baby boomers would consider new jobs that align with their personal values — which is significantly higher than the 19% of Gen Z respondents, who were originally thought to be the most purpose driven. 

Many baby boomers are finding new jobs in sunbelt cities, which are not only popular among retirees, but have experienced population and job growth booms the past couple of years. 

LinkedIn data from baby boomers who started jobs between May 2023 and May 2024 revealed the top cities where they were starting new positions: 

  1. Cape Coral, Fla. 
  2. North Port-Sarasota, Fla. 
  3. Austin, Texas 
  4. Nashville, Tenn.  
  5. Raleigh, N.C. 
  6. Tampa, Fla.  
  7. Phoenix, Ariz. 
  8. Charlotte, N.C. 
  9. Dallas, Texas 
  10. Jacksonville, Fla. 

Carly Roszkowski, Vice President at AARP, told LinkedIn that many older Americans are starting their own businesses or taking up flexible jobs like driving for Uber or delivering for DoorDash. 

As more baby boomers rejoin the workforce, they are also inadvertently redefining what retirement is. Even though Gen Z is still expected to surpass the total number of baby boomers in workforce participation by the end of this year, baby boomers returning to the workforce is another factor leading employers to offer flexible working conditions and benefits for older workers. It also coincides with rising trends of workers who expect to work past the age of 70.  

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