There have never been so many vacancies in Germany as there are today – there are 1.74 million. In times of excess demand and a shortage of skilled workers, companies have to get involved more with potential applicants - and also court those who had once written their notice of termination. The method of bringing former employees back into the company is called “boomerang hiring”.
Around 39 percent of employees can imagine such a return to their former employer. This is the result of a survey by the market research company Appinio on behalf of the job platform Indeed, which is exclusively available to WELT AM SONNTAG. 49 percent of the 1,000 respondents between the ages of 16 and 65 rule out returning.
"The shortage of skilled workers requires new measures in recruiting," says Annina Hering, economist at Indeed. Employers can stay in touch with former employees via social networks or alumni programs – and “inquire from time to time” whether they are open to returning. Ex-employees would not always associate bad things with the former company - on the contrary.
"The old employer stands for familiar routines and a familiar working environment, which can be decisive when choosing a job," says Hering. In practice, however, it is usually the money that decides. According to the data, the salary is the first requirement for a return to work – for around 71 percent it is important or very important. Additional services follow with 51 percent. More responsibility and other tasks are also unimportant when switching back.
In general, the data shows that the motivation to return to the old employer decreases with age. At 59 percent, the 55 to 65-year-olds are the age group that can least imagine returning.
The younger generations are more open to returning to work: only around 29 percent of 16 to 24-year-olds reject a return. The greater willingness of the boys to change jobs is also reflected in their CVs. "Work biographies are increasingly characterized by job and industry changes," says Indeed. Since younger employees in particular are open to returning, boomerang careers are likely to occur even more frequently in the future, according to the conclusions of the survey.
It can also be financially worthwhile for skilled workers to switch to helper jobs – i.e. to a position that usually requires fewer qualifications. It is true that trained specialists who make such a career change often have to reckon with poorer pay. However, a new study by the Institute for Labor Market and Vocational Research (IAB) shows that for around 15 percent of the skilled workers who switch to an assistant position, the average salary is higher than if they stayed in the trained profession at the skilled worker level.
This applies above all to sectors with low pay, for example in personal care, floristry, agriculture and animal husbandry and gastronomy. Here, a change can be particularly worthwhile for employees. For example, professionals in body care earn just under 1700 euros, in gastronomy around 1850 euros.
Jobs for which no training is required, but the pay is significantly better, can be found in industry and construction in particular. In supply and disposal and the chemical industry, for example, average earnings of 3101 and 3113 euros are also attractive for helper activities. They almost reached the level of salaries for professionals in this industry, which is an average of 3116 euros.
The fact that in some professions, such as gastronomy, low wages are paid at skilled worker level makes these professions less attractive. "This can lead to career changes and thus to a shortage of skilled workers in the sectors concerned or further exacerbate existing bottlenecks," explains IAB researcher Doris Wiethölter. The study is based on data from the Integrated Employment Biographies (IEB). This was used to examine the employment history of people who were employed subject to social security contributions in December 2020.
The IAB experts calculate that employees who have learned a trade in personal hygiene, for example, earn an average of 600 euros more after changing careers to become a helper. There are also large differences in wages in the training occupations of floristry and agriculture with almost 400 and 300 euros more respectively.