Almost three-quarters (71%) have considered returning to their pre-Covid employers, part of the new trend of ‘boomerang’ employees, with 48% saying the business they moved to during the pandemic no longer meets their needs in the current climate.
According to research by recruitment firm Robert Walters among 3,000 professionals, 45% of those who left their job after lockdown did so for better pay, while 35% were looking for a better culture or more fulfilment from the role.
A third of professionals surveyed said the cost-of-living crisis had changed their perspective on their current employment, while 24% cited hybrid working fatigue.
Toby Fowlston, CEO of Robert Walters, said: “The post-pandemic bounce back saw record numbers of employees leave their job in what was billed as ‘The Great Resignation.’ However, our research indicates the first signs of ‘The Great Regret’ – with 71% of professionals stating that they would like to return to their pre-Covid employer, a mere 18 months after leaving.
“Across 2021 we saw record pay rises offered to professionals, with promises of an uber flexible and hybrid culture. Come 2023, and these pay rises now pale in comparison to the rising cost of living and inflation – with those new starters who were offered inflated salaries being much less likely to have received a pay increase this year. It appears that workers are realising that the grass may not have been greener after all.”
This followed Office for National Statistics (ONS) research which found that 16% of adults were experiencing food insecurity, which was having a negative mental health impact on 13%. A fifth (20%) reported facing difficulties staying warm, albeit down from 24% in the November to December period, in line with seasonal changes.
Further data from the ONS showed that inflation rose to 9.2% in February 2023, and that one in three adults were finding it somewhat or very difficult to make rent or mortgage payments.
Fowlston added: “In light of this research, not only should companies who are looking to hire consider reengaging with alumni, but they should also look to train managers on holding a positive exit process as ‘boomerang employees’ could well be a solution to skills shortage.
“A key thing for employers is to manage the return of boomerang employees amongst existing workers – in particular, if someone is returning 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 organisation, or they risk sending a message that one route to promotion and better package is to take the boomerang route.”