This website requires JavaScript.

‘Boomerang Employees’ Seen As Potential Solution To Skill, Talent Shortage

‘Boomerang Employees’ Seen As Potential Solution To Skill, Talent Shortage
Commuters seen walking at the pedestrian overpass connecting the LRT Lines 1 and 2 in Manila on April 30, 2023. Photo by Miguel De Guzman, The Philippine STAR

Nearly eight out of 10 Filipino professionals consider themselves as “boomerang employees” or those who are open to returning to their previous employers, a survey from recruitment consultancy firm Robert Walters showed. 

The survey released last Thursday, Sept. 7, found that 78 percent of Filipino professionals are open to working again with their former companies. It polled close to 1,000 professionals across six Southeast Asian countries, of which 100 are from the Philippines. 

Also included were respondents from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. 

Based on the survey, 47 percent of workers in the Philippines who had left their job in the past two years did so because they seek better pay and benefits, while another 42 percent said they left for a better career progression.

Asked what would make them consider returning to their former employers, 24 percent cited better remuneration, while 21 percent said career progression opportunities. Some 22 percent  said they would do it if there are changes to leadership or team structure.

The recruitment firm also recognized the Philippines as one of the countries with the “highest proportion” of respondents who still communicate with former employers.

A “remarkable” 88 percent of Filipinos surveyed said they stay in some form of contact with a previous manager, with 23 percent stating that this was to keep the door open for future job opportunities.

Only 12 percent of Filipino respondents said they have no contact with their former employers.

Toby Fowlston, chief executive officer of Robert Walters, said leaders should be excited with the fact that there is a pool of talent rejoining their company, noting the continuing candidate shortage given the slow global recruitment market.

“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 instill in a new employee,” he said.

“In light of this research, companies who are looking to hire can consider re-engaging with alumni, and train managers on holding a positive exit process as ‘boomerang employees’ could well be a solution to skills shortage,” added Fowlston.

Based on the survey, managers are generally receptive toward “boomerang employees,” with 90 percent willing to hire former employees for suitable positions. 

In the Philippines, 80 percent of the surveyed managers said they are willing to allow “good ex-employees” to return, while another 11 percent are open to the idea, “but with a cautious approach.”

Only seven percent said they will not consider re-hiring former employees, lower than the Southeast Asian average of nine percent.

“Our findings reveal that the hiring managers in the Philippines are notably receptive to considering the rehiring of their former employees,” said Alejandro Perez-Higuero, Robert Walters Philippines director.

Given the growing talent shortage, he said nurturing positive relationships with ex-employees is advisable. 

“This approach carries several benefits, including familiarity with your company and culture, which minimizes adaptation time and training costs. Re-hires quickly contribute and can even play a role in succession planning,” said Perez-Higuero.

“But as you explore the possibility of re-hiring, it is crucial to assess the reasons for their departure and growth during their absence, ensuring a mutually beneficial arrangement for both parties,” he added.

Fowlston, meanwhile, reminded employers of the importance of managing the return of boomerang employees among existing workers, especially if someone will return 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 organization, or they risk sending a message that one route to promotion and better package is to take the boomerang route,” he said.