Employees who resigned from, then returned to, their previous employer were rehired after an average … [+]
New research found that over four million American workers have quit their jobs each month so far this year, and this record-breaking trend isn’t going to wane anytime soon. According to McKinsey and Company’s survey of 13,000 people across the globe, including 6,294 Americans, about 40% of workers are considering quitting their current jobs in the next three-to-six months. As resignation rates show no sign of slowing down, companies are struggling to fill roles even amid a looming recession.
“Economic concerns and predictions about a recession have flipped the script on what employees are most interested in right now,” James Neave, head of data science at Adzuna, told me. “During the Great Resignation, people were changing jobs for flexibility in where and when work happens, a better work-life balance and a company mission that aligns with their own personal values. Benefits, perks and culture were valued more highly than pay. Now, with inflation and fears of a recession, ‘cash is king’ again, and workers are changing jobs for significant wage gains. And they are well placed to do so with vacancies not likely to slow down any time soon.”
At Adzuna, advertised job vacancies in the U.S. tracked 8.1 million in July—the ninth consecutive month above eight million, according to Neave. “Job opening levels remain elevated, and the number of people in work is growing. At a sector level, healthcare & nursing and retail are seeing vacancy levels rise,” he said. “Companies can’t find the staff to meet demand, and hiring remains red hot amid the worker shortage and rising inflation.”
New data from the Pew Research Center revealed that the majority of job switchers are seeing it pay off in higher earnings. The report says that from April 2021 to March 2022—a period in which quit rates reached post-pandemic highs—60% of employees switching jobs received an increase in their real earnings over the same month the previous year. Some job switchers find the grass is greener on the other side. But others discover they are worse off, reconsider their decisions and return to their previous employers.
Andrea Derler, Head of Research at Visier, told me. “The resignation wave caused talent shortages and internal upheaval in organizations for the past two years. In response, many organizations had to replace lost talent by hiring external talent fast and at volume to enable post-pandemic recovery and growth.” Derler pointed out that job switchers either look for new jobs shortly after joining an organization or are rehired by their previous employer and become a boomerang employee—a worker who resigned from, then returned to, their previous employer. Gone are the days when boomerang employees carried the stigma of disloyalty. In these times of talent shortages, rehires are considered an untapped source of talent for organizations. Some sources say re-hiring boomerang employees reduces costs because of faster on-boarding, plus former employees have knowledge of the organization and how it functions.
A new report from Visier says rehiring boomerangs is the next trend in solving the hiring crisis, citing that one-third of external hires over the past three years were boomerang employees, and 28% of new hires from the first months of 2022 were boomerang workers. Their data suggest that boomerang employees typically return to their previous employers after around one year away, re-energized and armed with new skills, and ready to renegotiate their terms. Other key findings from Visier’s database of 15 million anonymized employee records include:
Derler cautions that organizations should consider three things before rehiring a boomerang employee:
“With so many vacancies and opportunities in the market, employers are still investing in talent attraction and retention tactics, like signing bonuses for new joiners, upskilling current staff and returnships to help those who have left back into the workforce,” Neave said. “To attract younger job candidates, employers are looking to the class of 2022 to fill vacancies that are lying open ready to be filled, and a shortage of entry level workers in some sectors has led to starting salaries of $100,000 or more for inexperienced workers. Job seekers should be aware that negative headlines about high profile layoffs do not depict the wider labor situation.”