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78% of professionals in Vietnam open to returning to previous employer

  • One in two (57%) considering returning to ​previous​​ ​employers for better career progression or due to leadership changes.
  • One-third (33%) admit to having already reached out to previous employer.
  • 91% remain in touch with previous employer – with 20% saying it is to keep the door open.
  • Over 92% of managers who are currently hiring are open to consider hiring a previous employee, with 78% of them doing so without hesitation.

Vietnam stands out as the country where the highest number of professionals (78%) are open to returning to their previous employer. They are likely to be considered, with 78% of employers who are currently hiring willing to hire them back without any hesitation or caution. According to a recent poll from recruiter Robert Walters (of close to 1,000 professionals across six Southeast Asian countries), 34% of workers in Vietnam who had left their job in the past two years did so for better pay and benefits - with a further 34% leaving for a better career progression. In Vietnam, 31% of local professionals admit that they will be willing to consider returning to their previous employer for better career progression opportunities. In addition, 26% of local respondents (compared to the SEA average of 20%) would return to their previous employer if there are changes to the leadership with another 12% stating that they will consider doing so for better remuneration

Keeping a Foot in the Door  

91% of those surveyed admitted to staying in some form of contact with a previous manager – with one-fifth stating that this was for the primary purpose of keeping the door open for future job opportunities (20%). 

In fact – 33% of local professionals disclosed that they have reached out to a previous employer in the past two years regarding job opportunities, with a further 23% stating that they have not done it yet but intend to do so.  

Managers Very Open to Consider Hiring Ex-employees.

​​The sentiment from Vietnam professionals is largely met with positive responses, with over 92% of managers in Vietnam being willing to consider re-hiring them for suitable positions. More than three-quarters (78%) of managers will consider letting “good ex-employees” return​​ and another 15% are open to the idea, although they will proceed with hesitation and caution​. Only​ 8% (compared to the SEA average of 9%) of managers surveyed ​stating that they will not rehire ex- employees. 

Phuc Pham - Country Manager at Robert Walters Vietnam adds:

“Our findings show that professionals in Vietnam are the most open among SEA countries to consider returning to their former employers. It is interesting to see the top two reasons being better career progression and changes in the leadership which stresses the importance they place on personal growth and a positive work environment. It's not solely about monetary incentives; our professionals value meaningful opportunities and a sense of belonging in their career journeys”.

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.”

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