There is apparently a rise in boomerang employees who have decided the grass is not always greener. So what should businesses do?
Almost three quarters of professionals have said that they are open to returning to their pre-Covid employer – with half admitting that the reasons as to why they left are no longer applicable in today’s market.
According to a recent poll from recruiter Robert Walters, 45% of workers who had left their job after lockdown did so for better pay – with a further 35% leaving for a better workplace culture or more purpose/fulfilment in their role.
Fast-forward two years later and 48% of professionals admit that their current employer is no longer meeting their needs – with a third stating the cost-of-living crisis has changed how they feel about their most recent employment situation.
Toby Fowlston – CEO of global recruitment consultancy Robert Walters says, “The post-pandemic bounceback saw record numbers of employees leave their job in what was billed as ‘The Great Resignation.’ However, our research indicates the first signs of ‘The Great Regret’ – with 71% of professionals stating that they would like to return to their pre-Covid employer, a mere 18 months after leaving.
“Across 2021 we saw record pay rises offered to professionals, with promises of an uber flexible and hybrid culture. Come 2023, and these pay rises now pale in comparison to the rising cost of living and inflation – with those new starters who were offered inflated salaries being much less likely to have received a pay increase this year. It appears that workers are realising that the grass may not have been greener after all.”
Meanwhile, on the employer side, 44% admit to being hesitant in allowing an old employee back into the team, with just a fifth stating that they would only consider it if they had been ‘exceptional’.
Fowlston adds, “I’m afraid managers/employers need to swallow their pride here. Whilst the global recruitment market has slowed slightly in 2023, candidate shortages continue – and so the fact there is a pool of talent open to re-joining business should excite leaders.
“Not only that but this is talent that can hit the ground running – they have already been inducted into your business, they will be familiar with processes, and have a previous vested interest in the brand – all qualities which can take years to instil in a new employee.
“A key thing for employers is to manage the return of boomerang employees amongst existing workers – in particular if someone is returning in a more senior position than when they left. A balance needs to be struck and employers should assess that they are doing all they can to open up lines of opportunity within an organisation, or they risk sending a message that one route to promotion and better package is to take the boomerang route.”