Boomerang Employees Returning to Arts, Education, IT, Healthcare and Retail Jobs

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While the Great Resignation shows no sign of slowing down — there were 4.4 million Americans quitting their jobs in February, according to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report that came out on March 29 — another pandemic-era work phenomenon is on the rise: boomerang employees.

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The number of so-called boomerang employees — employees who return after leaving a company — keeps rising, a new LinkedIn Workforce Insights survey shows.

Boomerang hires amounted to 4.3% of all job switches last year, up from less than 2% in 2010, according to LinkedIn data. Second, the average time between the exit and return of such “boomerang hires” in the United States has shrunk to just 17.3 months, down from the 2010 norm of 21.8 months.

In some industries, the boomerang cycle in 2021 was running especially fast, notably in the arts and recreation sector, where the average boomerang hire period stood at 11 months. This is followed by the education sector, where the pertinent boomerang cycle stood at an average of 13.4 months. That sector also took the second spot in terms of the percentage of employees who boomerang, with 6.3% of respondents having done so.

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Additional industries where the boomerang cycle is particularly fast included technology, information and media; retail; hospitals and healthcare; transportation, logistics and storage; manufacturing; and financial services, the survey shows.

LinkedIn notes that several companies celebrate boomerang employees, such as Salesforce, which has a “boomerang spotlight” section on its website. This section highlights employees who “boomeranged back” to their jobs at the company.

California also has a dedicated boomerang website — boomerang.ca.gov — for retired State of California employees.

“Are you interested in working for the State on a temporary basis as a retired annuitant? If you answered ‘Yes’ to both of those questions, you are invited to register to be placed in a hiring pool that will be used by state departments,” the website notes.

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For companies, boomerang hires bring several advantages. In an article on the Society for Human Resource Management’s website, Christina Gialleli, director of people operations at Epignosis, said that “hiring and onboarding a new employee is much more expensive and time-consuming than rehiring and reboarding former employees. Boomerang employees are already familiar with the company, the products, the processes, and can be productive much more quickly.”

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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