How to UNretire Today’s Tech Workforce

Brian Slepko
EVP, Global Service Delivery
3 min read
How to UNretire Today’s Tech Workforce

Concerned about the Great Resignation? You should be.

COVID, supply chain chaos, international conflict, and other circumstances have caused workers to rethink their relationship to work. And that reconsideration has led many of them to say “no, thanks.” The tech industry has been especially hard hit, and it will likely get worse: a recent survey showed less than a third of tech employees intend to stay in their current job.  

Who’s leaving — and why?

Employees who depart the workforce come in three basic categories: 

  • The aging out. As employees get older, many find they are less interested in long, stressful work days — and don’t need the income.  
  • The burnt out. The pandemic years have taken an emotional toll on workers, and many have departed without plans to return. 
  • The bought out. Some lucky souls have struck it big and no longer rely on a regular income. 

Regardless of the reason, large-scale departure from the tech employee base is reason for concern. Experienced employees who leave take tremendous subject matter expertise (established ERP systems, for example) with them. Replacing them takes effort, time, and money — perhaps double the employee’s annual salary. To keep up with industry demands, tech outfits need to find efficient ways to UNretire employees and get them working again. 

Imagination is key to hiring older workers

Imagination is key, says Shannon Hicks, Rimini Street senior director, global talent acquisition: “In today’s market, we have had to adopt unique, new approaches to reach those who — for whatever reason — are no longer interested in returning to a classic workday experience after the pandemic.” 

Many companies use enticements such as higher pay, better benefits, and even compensation for interviewing. That may not be enough, says Hicks. She recommends looking deeply at what potential employees consider job fulfillment, especially with regard to their age demographic. 

“Finding older workers can be easy with tools like LinkedIn,” says Hicks, “but convincing conversations require much more strategy.” 

She has found that older tech experts are more likely to pursue different goals than their younger counterparts. They find satisfaction in continued relevance and the ability to mentor and teach. They value social interaction and the fulfillment of solving complex problems. Finances and benefits remain relevant, but paying the bills is hardly the only thing they consider. Successful tech recruiters will offer such enticements to lure more-mature employees back into careers. 

COVID requirements have popularized hybrid and at-home work, which have enjoyed widespread appeal. Many older workers jump at part-time or contract work, which can offer both flexibility and fulfillment. “What’s crucial is that recruiters engage in discussions with retirees to understand their unique situation,” she concludes. 

Appealing to younger workers

The same approach applies to younger workers, too. They have left workaday jobs for a variety of reasons; understanding those reasons and addressing them can lead to a great new hire. Successful recruiters will be able to offer a range of enticements, including pay, insurance, and 401(k) — but extending to remote work options, flexible hours, expanded Paid Time Off, and other novel forms of compensation. No longer a question merely of wages and benefits, attracting working-age employees who have chosen to leave employment must include a significant component of job satisfaction.

Some methods benefit both older and younger workers, and they can boost both retention and recruitment. Job shadowing and co-mentorship programs can help both cohorts find the fulfillment they seek. More than that, those programs can also maintain institutional knowledge even when older professionals decide to retire for good. “Companies need to become more strategic with such training and mentoring plans to ensure the tribal knowledge isn’t lost,” Hicks says.

Creative approaches like these can turn the Great Resignation into an opportunity to improve the satisfaction, longevity, and productivity of tech workers, even in an increasingly competitive employment landscape.

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