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Rise of Boomerang Employees

75% of professionals in Singapore open to returning to ​previous​ employer


  • One in two (46%) considering returning to ​previous​​ ​employers for better career progression and remuneration
  • Quarter (27%) admit to having already reached out to previous employer 
  • 78% remain in touch with previous employer – with a quarter (25%) saying it is to keep the door open 
  • Over 96% of managers who are currently hiring are open to consider hiring a previous employee, with 80% of them doing so without hesitation. Yet over 1 in 5 employees do not keep in contact with their ex-employers. 


Three quarters of professionals (75%) in Singapore have stated that they are open to returning to their ​previous​​ ​employer. They are likely to be considered, with 80% of employers who are currently hiring willing to do so without any hesitation or caution. 

According to a recent poll from recruiter Robert Walters (of close to 1,000 professionals across six1 Southeast Asian countries, of which 150 are from Singapore), ​40​% of workers in Singapore who had left their job in the past two years did so for better pay and benefits - with a further 28% leaving for a better workplace culture or aligned corporate values. 

In Singapore, 46% of local professionals admit that they will be willing to consider returning to their previous employer for better remuneration and career progression opportunities – with another 23% stating that they will consider doing so if there are changes to the leadership or team structure. In particular, 25% of local respondents (compared to the SEA average of 19%) would return to their previous employer if remuneration was improved. 

Keeping a Foot in the Door 

78% of those surveyed admitted to staying in some form of contact with a previous manager – with a quarter stating that this was for the primary purpose of keeping the door open for future job opportunities (25%). 

In fact – 27% of local professionals have admitted to reaching out to a previous employer in the past two years regarding job opportunities, with a further ​20​% stating that they have not done it yet but intend to do so. 

Singapore professionals see the highest proportion of respondents who no longer keep in touch with their ex-companies, compared to their counterparts in other markets in the region. One in 5 (22%) Singapore professionals do not remain in contact with their ex-employers (compared to the SEA average of 13%). 

Managers Very Open to Consider Hiring Ex-employees

​​The sentiment from Singapore professionals is largely met with positive responses, with over 90% of managers in Singapore being willing to consider re-hiring them for suitable positions. More than three-quarters (76%) of managers will consider letting “good ex-employees” return​​ and another 20% are open to the idea, although they will proceed with hesitation and caution​​.​ 

Among the SEA respondents, Singapore managers are the most open to reconsidering ex-employees, with 3% (compared to the SEA average of 9%) stating that they will not rehire ex-employees.  

Monty Sujanani - Country Manager at Robert Walters Singapore added, “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 – CEO of global recruitment consultancy Robert Walters comments:

​​     ​“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. 

“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.”


Interested in working for Robert Walters in South East Asia? Read the career stories of our employees and check out available roles here.

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