New data from LinkedIn's Economic Graph team found that 4.3% of all job changes in 2021 were "boomerang hires" who left a company and later returned, George Anders reports for LinkedIn.
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'Boomerang hires' increase across the health care industry
Amid the "Great Resignation," employees across the country have quit their jobs in record numbers. However, a new LinkedIn analysis appears to show that many questioned their initial decisions to leave—and "boomeranged" back to their former employers.
For their analysis, researchers looked at roughly 32 million LinkedIn members' job histories and discovered that the percentage of workers that return to a former employer is continually rising. For instance, they found that "boomerang hires" across all U.S. industries made up 4.3% of all job changes in 2021—an increase from less than 2% in 2010.
In particular, researchers found that 4.3% of U.S. hospital and health care workers returned to their former companies in 2021.
Across all U.S. industries, researchers found that the average time between rehires shrunk from an average of 21.8 months in 2010 to just 17.3 months in 2021. Among health care workers, it took an average of 16.5 months to "boomerang."
'An opportunity rather than a betrayal'
"It could happen to any of us," Anders writes. "We're doing all right in our current jobs, when an exciting new offer from a different organization comes along. We accept—make the move—and then begin to wonder if we goofed. Or perhaps we like the new job, but our old employer misses us terribly. And then we start getting offers to come back on vastly better terms."
In a recent Sloan Management Review post, business professor Ben Laker claims that when a former employee returns to a job, they typically understand company culture in ways that newcomers do not—which often results in a much faster and smoother onboarding.
And as more employees "boomerang" back to their former employers, companies are rethinking the ways they engage with former employees.
"Employers are thinking of alumni as an opportunity rather than a betrayal," said Andrea Legnani, global head of alumni relations at Citi. Previously, alumni outreach was largely geared toward retirees. "Now companies are looking at alumni as employees of the future."
"With priorities for both talent and management changing fast, it's easy for last year's headaches to morph into this year's opportunities," Anders writes. (Anders, LinkedIn, 3/30)