BACKGROUND: This article investigates employment of retired persons with different ethnic backgrounds, namely Germans, ethnic Germans and immigrants. The central issue of this paper addresses the influencing factors on employment during retirement. DATA AND METHODS: A total of 25,304 recipients of statutory pension payments were analyzed using administrative data of the German Pension Insurance and the Federal Employment Agency. The parameters of being employed, whilst drawing statutory pension payments, were determined by means of a binary probability model. RESULTS: About 20% of the investigated pensioners hold an occupational activity. In the majority of cases this activity equates to part-time employment. Not only the amount of pension received, but also lack of continuous employment prior to retirement influence whether retirees stay in the labor force. Furthermore there are differences between Germans and immigrants. CONCLUSION: The combination of the influencing parameters on working beyond retirement permits the conclusion that persons who face the risk of old-age poverty are more likely to work when they are retired.