Around 75% of professionals in Singapore have expressed their willingness to rejoin their former employers, according to a recent survey. Moreover, a significant 80% of the employers who are actively recruiting have shown enthusiasm in rehiring their previous employees, without any reservations or hesitation.
As per a recent survey conducted by recruiter Robert Walters, nearly 1,000 professionals from six Southeast Asian countries participated, with 150 respondents from Singapore. The findings revealed that 40% of the workers in Singapore who had changed jobs within the last two years did so primarily for improved pay and benefits. Additionally, 28% of the respondents cited leaving their previous employment to seek a better workplace culture or a company that aligns with their values.
In Singapore, 46% of local professionals have expressed their willingness to contemplate rejoining their former employer if they are offered better compensation and opportunities for career advancement.
Additionally, 23% of respondents mentioned that they would consider returning if there were alterations to the leadership or team structure. Interestingly, 25% of local participants (compared to the average of 19% in Southeast Asia) indicated that an improvement in remuneration would be a decisive factor in their decision to return to their previous employer.
Keeping a foot in the door
Out of those surveyed, 78% acknowledged that they remained in contact with a former manager in some capacity. Among them, a quarter mentioned that the main reason for doing so was to preserve the possibility of future job opportunities (25%).
In fact – 27% of local professionals have acknowledged that they reached out to a former employer within the last two years regarding job opportunities. Additionally, another 20% mentioned that they have not done so yet, but they do have intentions of reaching out in the future.
Among professionals in the region, Singaporeans show the highest percentage of respondents who have ceased keeping in touch with their previous companies. Specifically, one in five (22%) professionals in Singapore do not maintain contact with their ex-employers, which is notably higher than the Southeast Asia average of 13%.
Managers very open to consider hiring ex-employees
The response from professionals in Singapore has been overwhelmingly positive, as revealed by the survey. Over 90% of managers in Singapore have expressed their willingness to reconsider hiring these professionals for suitable positions. Among them, a significant 76% are open to letting "good ex-employees" return, while an additional 20% are receptive to the idea but with some hesitance and caution.
When compared to managers in other Southeast Asian countries, those in Singapore are the most open to rehiring ex-employees. Only 3% of Singaporean managers stated that they would not consider rehiring former employees, in contrast to the regional average of 9%. Monty Sujanani, the Country Manager at Robert Walters Singapore, also shared his thoughts on the matter.
“Our findings show that managers in Singapore are the most open to consider rehiring their ex-employees. Yet on the employees’ front, we have the highest rate of employees who may have missed potential future job opportunities, by not keeping in touch with their ex-employers. It could be due to various reasons, such as a misperception that returning to an ex-employer could be perceived negatively. Employees may be encouraged to know that their ex-employers will be willing to consider them fairly, especially if they had proven themselves to be star performers in the company.”
Toby Fowlston, the CEO of Robert Walters, a renowned global recruitment consultancy, shares his insights on the matter and said, “Whilst the global recruitment market has slowed slightly in 2023, candidate shortages continue – and so the fact there is a pool of talent open to re-joining business should excite leaders. Not only that but this is talent that can hit the ground running – they have already been inducted into your business, they will be familiar with processes, and have a previous vested interest in the brand – all qualities which can take years to instil in a new employee.”
“In light of this research, companies who are looking to hire can consider re-engaging with alumni, and train managers on holding a positive exit process as ‘boomerang employees’ could well be a solution to skills shortage,” added Fowlston.
“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,” he concluded.