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Boomerang Employees on the Rise


17 March 2017 at 4:19 pm
Wendy Williams
A shortage of talent is fuelling the rise of “boomerang” employees, according to new research.


Wendy Williams | 17 March 2017 at 4:19 pm


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Boomerang Employees on the Rise
17 March 2017 at 4:19 pm

A shortage of talent is fuelling the rise of “boomerang” employees, according to new research.

A report by specialised recruitment company Robert Half has found more than two-thirds (65 per cent) of Australian companies have re-hired a former employee who left the organisation voluntarily.

It comes as 89 per cent of HR managers said they found it “challenging” to source skilled professionals.

Robert Half Asia Pacific director Andrew Morris said it showed the current labour market was highly competitive for qualified candidates.

“Given the dynamics of a talent-short market, coupled with skills shortages in key areas, employers are increasingly considering re-hiring former employees – a trend we expect to see continue throughout 2017,” Morris said.

According to the latest report 87 per cent of companies were more accepting of hiring “boomerang employees” today compared to three years ago, with only 9 per cent saying they would not consider it.

Meanwhile, of those who had re-hired a former employee, 33 per cent said it had been a success, compared to 32 per cent who said they would not do it again.

Morris said there were good and bad aspects to hiring a former staff member.

“So-called boomerang employees can bring experience to a company’s talent pool as well as an intimate understanding of the business. That said, successfully re-engaging a former employee can call for additional considerations,” he said.

“An employer should revisit the circumstances of their departure to decipher whether they left on good terms, followed by a discussion with the ex-staff member to get a sense of their motivations for returning to their previous workplace.”

The latest research also highlighted several key drivers to re-hiring former employees.

It found a successful track record at the organisation was the main reason for re-hiring cited by 56 per cent of HR managers.

However, almost half (46 per cent) of employers say they would consider re-hiring an ex-staff member if they possessed skills and expertise that were hard to recruit for.

Two out of five (40 per cent) employers point to a reduction in the time and cost of on boarding former employees and 33 per cent refer to a good cultural fit.

“Keeping the door open to departing staff members can provide benefits that can go beyond tapping into the skillset and broadened experience of a former employee,” Morris said.

“Re-hiring a person who is already familiar with the company and its culture can significantly reduce the costs and time associated with onboarding, and ensure the employee is productive from day one.

“Losing good people is never easy, but it’s not a total loss if there’s an opportunity to bring them back later on.”


Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.

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