UK HR directors open to boomerang employees

  • 36% of HR executives have successfully rehired a former permanent employee
  • 83% of UK firms more open to hiring boomerang employees than they were three years ago
  • The door is still open – just seven per cent of HR directors would not consider rehiring a former permanent employee who wanted to return

London, 16 August 2016 – New research1 from leading recruitment specialists Robert Half UK reveals that organisations in the UK are more open to hiring boomerang employees, those returning to a former employer. Companies are becoming increasingly receptive to the idea of rehiring former workers, with 83% of HR executives reporting they are more accepting of boomerang employees than they were three years ago. Only 7% of UK HR directors are opposed to rehiring former employees.

Thirty-six per cent of HR directors have successfully rehired an employee who previously left a role in their organisation. While just 25% of HR executives said they have previously employed a boomerang employee but wouldn’t do it again.

Almost half (49%) of HR executives working for large companies in the UK have successfully rehired former employees.  It appears HR directors in larger companies are more open than their smaller counterparts to the idea of rehiring former workers, with a mere 4% saying they wouldn’t consider hiring a boomerang employee compared to 12% of those in small enterprises.      

The research also highlights the factors that are most influential in seeing an employee rehired.  A successful track record (60%) was understandably the most important factor in these decisions, followed by their fit into the corporate culture (40%). Ongoing skills shortages are encouraging HR directors to look at engaging with former hires, particularly if they have expanded their experience at a new employer and can return to a company at a higher level. More than a third (36%) of HRDs highlighted the benefits of reduced on-boarding costs as a factor influencing their decision to employ a boomeranger2.      

Phil Sheridan, Senior Managing Director of Robert Half UK, commented:  “Rehiring former employees back into the organisation can help to offset the current challenges companies face in the war for talent. This growing acceptance of boomerang employees emphasises the increasing fluidity of the job market. Many firms see value and potential cost savings in allowing employees to expand their experience and skills set outside their organisation, leaving the door open for them to return at a later date.  

“In smaller enterprises especially, there sometimes isn’t the opportunity or scope for employees to expand their skills set. In these instances employers may benefit from allowing employees to leave and gain the experience they need for their career, with the added value of additional training, while keeping the door open for ‘alumni’ employees should a suitable role become available.”


Notes to editors

1 The annual study was developed by Robert Half UK and is conducted by an independent research firm.  The study is based on more than 200 interviews with senior HR directors from companies across the UK, with the results segmented by size, sector and geographic location. 

2 HRDs were asked “Why have you/would you consider rehiring a (permanent) employee who left the company voluntarily? “Multiple responses were permitted

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. We have once again been named to FORTUNE’s “World’s Most Admired Companies®” list and remains the top-ranked staffing firm (February 2020). Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and jobseeker resources at and