U-turn now after the Great Resignation

Recruiters are terming this phenomenon as ‘infant mortality’ wherein newcomers realize that they are not the right fit and want to head back to a familiar workplace

The great resignation is seeing a reversal, with many employees leaving their new jobs to return to their former employers.

Recruiters are terming this phenomenon as ‘infant mortality’ wherein newcomers realize that they are not the right fit and want to head back to a familiar workplace. Such reverse migration is happening mainly in client-facing roles in technology, startup and consumer industries.

“The importance of familiarity is often unrecognized. When there are loan repayments, onboarding during covid, no connectivity with colleagues, then one seeks out the known faces,” said Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder of staffing firm TeamLease Services.

She noted that this trend is being witnessed in the junior to middle management segments where employees dial their former offices and return at the same salaries or with a marginal increase.

The ‘Great Resignation’ was a term coined a few months ago when employees, mainly in the tech and startup sector, were flooded with offers, joining bonuses and counteroffers. As India Inc. tries to keep pace with accelerated digital adoption and cloud-based services, their need for experts in Java, Javascript, Python and SQL remains unsatiated.

But with the rapid resignations and immediate hiring came onboarding challenges wherein an employee feels lost despite 60-100% wage hikes. Recruiters use the term ‘infant mortality’ to define those leaving their jobs in the first one to three months of joining. While some may move to a new firm, there is a growing trend of heading back to familiar territory.

“I call it going back to the roots. The tech and e-commerce sectors have seen many cases where employees cannot connect with the new firm. This is especially the case with new recruits who are working remotely and have not been part of the physical office workspace,” said Pasupathi Sankaran, chief operating officer of recruitment firm Careernet. About 70% of the Bengaluru-based firm’s clients are in the tech and startup space.

According to a study by the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom), about 90% of chief executives expect their hirings this year to remain the same or exceed that of 2021, with digital talent making up half of the new hires. In another study, Nasscom said 450,000 employees were added so far this financial year.

Getting a former employee back works out for a company, and the trend is more prominent in client-facing roles.

“The fact that they know enough already about candidates on aspects like potential, culture fit, readiness for a role, etc. makes this an interesting proposition,” said Nitin Sethi, partner and CEO, Human Capital Solutions at consulting firm AON India. “Be it market-facing roles, leadership hiring, hiring for strategic initiatives or even at middle and junior levels – many companies are now tapping this segment,” he added.

This segment of former employees is being spotted across industries, but in some cases, the reverse migration occurs when the new firm cannot sustain the hefty salaries.

“There are cases when the employees have joined a startup and realized that the startup was not very financially strong. These incidents are on the rise where the candidates have fallen for the funding and ESOP promises and realized the folly later. They make a comeback to the earlier employer,” said Guruprasad Srinivasan, group CEO of Quess Corp.

However, given the hiring frenzy, one may opt for a new employer and also bargain for another hike. This is done considering that new employees will have to return the joining bonus if they leave the firm before a stipulated period. The former employer may not be able to offer a sufficient hike but another one can.

“Not all are seeing the newly recruited head back to the previous employer. There is still a lot of demand for full-stack engineers and cloud experts and they can get a job with another firm. There are bidding wars between firms, but the bubble will last for another 2 to 3 quarters at most,” said Supaul Chanda, vice-president of technology recruitment firm Experis (of Manpower Group). 

Source: Livemint