Resignation rates across industries show no signs of wavering, and job switchers’ experiences moving from one company to the next vary widely. While some employees find the grass is greener on the other side, others find themselves worse off in the new job. They decide to return to their previous employer and become so-called ‘boomerang employees’.

As 55% of executives worry about hiring the right talent quickly and at the “right cost,” rehiring talent seems like an attractive solution for organizations. Hiring back employees who know the organization already can bring lower hiring costs, a quicker onboarding process, and the benefit of the worker’s existing institutional knowledge and networks.

While relatively little is known about the magnitude of the boomerang trend, knowing if people come back after resigning can serve as an organization’s thermometer for employee sentiment. Certain aspects of talent mobility in and out of the company can help HR and business leaders learn more about who is leaving, who is returning, and why? What are the conditions under which they come back, and when? And how can we improve the employee experience throughout their life cycle?

The present report is based on data science analyses of Visier’s Community Data, which contains 15 million employee records and answers these questions. Five key findings emerged:

  • About 1/3 of external hires are boomerang employees. 
  • The critical time frame for rehiring is 13 months. 
  • Managers are more likely to be rehired. 
  • More than ¼ of boomerang employees were high performers when they left. 
  • Boomerangs earn on average 25% more when they return.

Finally, the report offers a series of people analytics metrics organizations should track to learn more about their own workforce dynamics around hiring and retaining top talent.

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