Just like any other, the recruitment sector is awash with buzzwords and industry trends. In the wake of the pandemic and the Great Resignation (as it’s been coined) one notable trend has emerged: Boomerang Employees.

Thanks to Brexit, the pandemic, and a lift in the economy the labour market has never been tighter. Candidate numbers are down, and vacancies are up. The gap between supply and demand is growing. Whereas once employers may not have considered rehiring a leaver, now they may not have a choice.

The numbers suggest that Boomerang hiring appeals to both candidates and employers. According to industry data, 15% of employees have returned to a legacy employer, while a further 40% would consider being boomerangs and re-employment.

These numbers are backed up client-side.  76% of HR professionals said they accept more boomerang employees than they would’ve in the past. The recruitment landscape has forced them to reconsider their options and widen hiring channels.

So, what are Boomerang Employees?

Quite simply, Boomerang Employees are employees that have left an organisation only to be rehired later.  Typically, boomerangs are leavers. They have resigned and haven’t been let go.

If you have vacancies to fill, should you be wary of Boomerang Employees or do you welcome them with open arms?

Should you consider boomerang hiring?

Depending on the individual and the circumstances of their departure, there may be cause for concern over rehiring a leaver. However, there will inevitably be A player leavers you are sorry to see go and there are certainly considerable benefits to hiring boomerang employees.


Unless you have undergone significant transformations, the onboarding of a boomerang employee will be faster and more efficient than a new hire. It is more than likely they will be familiar with both the processes and culture of your organisation.

They will be able to hit the ground running. Even if there have been small adjustments since they left, or they have been hired in a different role, boomerangs are still far quicker to adapt.

Time efficient.

A fresh hire needs more time investment than a boomerang employee. Boomerangs are better equipped to readopt processes than learn them from scratch.

They may even return with new skills that make them more valuable to the wider organisation than they were before. Subsequent roles may have taught them more efficient ways of working that they can pay forward to their new colleagues.

Boomerang employees attract new talent.

Returning employees are a great advertisement for your company. They are an indication that yours was better than an alternative and they wanted more. It’s a sign that yours is a great brand to work for.

If you are able, these numbers should be added to your employer brand somehow. Could you add these stats to your website, or perhaps write a blog post or add it to your company LinkedIn page or other social channels?

If you send the message that boomerang employees have returned, it will attract fresh talent.

Competitor insight.

Boomerang employees can give your organisation insight into your competitors and the wider industry.

Their thoughts will be insightful even if they haven’t been employed at a competitor. They will still have looked at the sector through fresh eyes. They will be able to give you an insight into how you can grow your business and be a stronger competitive force.

Better performance.

As returning employees, boomerangs are often more productive and happier the second time around. This makes them better performers.  Research has shown that they are more confident and usually earn promotions more quickly.

A wider lens has often afforded them a broader perspective on the industry. New skills and new experiences give them a different outlook; one that they can bring to their new role.

How to encourage boomerang employees back.

The exit.

If yours is a company that does consider rehiring, the potential for boomerang hiring begins when you have a leaver.

When they leave, make sure there are no hard feelings and that you conduct a thorough exit interview. This will help you determine why they left in the first place. Perhaps they will raise some legitimate points that need addressing. Your leaver can help you improve your organisation. Any actions you take may encourage both new and returning applicants.

Keep in touch.

After the employee leaves, make sure they are still in your network. Wishing them luck and offering a kind word will create a lasting impression and encourage a return in the future.  People want to return when they can look back fondly at the people and the culture.

Encouraging boomerang employees back can be done at an organisational and personal level.  For example, does your company circulate a newsletter to alumni alerting them to new opportunities? Do you host networking events you could invite them to?

On a personal level, you should like, share, and comment on their professional achievements.  This encouragement keeps channels of communication open and indicates that you support their career, wherever they may be working.

Are you struggling to hire digital talent in today’s tight labour market? Have you got tech, digital, or data vacancies that you need to fill?

Reach out today to learn more about why you should work with Ignite to build your tech team. Partnering with us will add value to your hiring efforts!

About the author: I manage the recruitment for a range of digital roles for my clients on both a retained and contingency basis. I specialise in senior and confidential appointments, always giving a first class representation of a client’s employer brand.

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