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71% of professionals open to returning to pre-Covid employer

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Less than 1 in 5 employees have completely shut the door on previous employers 

A  new report highlights the rise of the “boomerang” employees with almost three quarters of professionals open to returning to their pre-Covid employer, with half admitting the reasons why they left are not relevant in today’s market.  

The poll, from recruiter Robert Walters, cites 45% of workers who left their job after lockdown did so for better pay – with a further 35% leaving for a better workplace culture or a more fulfilling role. 

Fast-forward two years and 48% of professionals admit their current employer is no longer meeting their needs, realising the ‘grass wasn’t greener’ – with 24% saying the cost-of-living crisis and hybrid-working fatigue has changed how they feel about their current employment. 

Key report findings;  

  • 71% considering returning to pre-Covid employers  
  • Quarter admit to having already reached out to previous employer 
  • 49% admit original reasons for leaving – purpose, pay and flexibility – are no longer relevant 
  • 48% claim current employers no longer meets their needs in current climate 
  • Quarter admit cost-of-living crisis has changed how they feel about current employer  
  • 82% remain in touch with previous employer – with third saying it is to keep door open 

A quarter of professionals have admitted to reaching out to a previous employer in the past year regarding job opportunities, with a further 11% stating that they have not done so, but intend to this year. Less than 1 in 5 employees have completely shut the door on previous employers, with 18% stating that they keep zero contact with their previous manager. 

Whilst the sentiment may be there from professionals – the same cannot be said for managers – with 44% being hesitant in allowing an old employee back into the team, with just a fifth stating that they would only consider it if they had been an ‘exceptional employee.’   

Toby Fowlston – CEO of global recruitment consultancy Robert Walterss 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 workers are realising that the grass may not have been greener after all.” www.robertwaltersgroup.com 


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