Nearly one-fifth of UK workers have returned to a previous job in the last five years or plan to do so soon, in what’s being dubbed as the ‘boomerang’ employee phenomenon, according to Unum.
Workplace culture and greater employee benefits were indicated as reasons for returning to a prior workplace by 36 per cent of respondents, according to the study by Unum and Opinium. Work/life balance was cited by more than a third or 34 per cent of boomerang employees as a cause for their return, highlighting the importance workers now have on balancing their personal and professional lives since the epidemic forced so many to adapt to home working.
87 per cent of boomerang employees polled stated they would boomerang again in the future, with 33 per cent citing higher pay as their motivation, followed by 28 per cent citing a better benefits package.
Other reasons for returning to a prior job, besides better work culture and benefits, were offers of advancement, flexible/hybrid working alternatives, a better environment, and social and governance (ESG) commitments, according to respondents who claimed they boomeranged or plan to.
London accounted for 35 per cent of respondents who stated they had or planned to boomerang in the last 5 years, compared to only 8 per cent in the East of England. While many people conceive of London as a city full of new prospects, firms in the capital are attracting lost talent at a faster rate than in other parts of the country.
Unum chief distribution officer Glenn Thompson says: “Our research found that 1 in 5 employees have returned to a previous employer (or plans to in the future). But interestingly, although the offering of better salary or promotions is important in employees’ decisions, it’s the combination of culture, benefits and work/life balance that are proving crucial to employees’ choice to stay, leave or boomerang. With a very tight labour market (1.3 million vacancies as of February 2022), employers must understand these factors and offer what employees need to be tempted back, given rehiring an old employee can potentially be more efficient than training someone who’s brand new to the business.”
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