The climate is right for those ex-employees seeking to return to their former employers, according to a new survey from Accountemps.

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The survey asked 300 human resources (HR) managers from a variety of U.S. companies with at least 20 or more employees if they would be willing to rehire former employees who did not burn their bridges. Overall, 98t percent said they would, with 77 percent of them indicating they would be "very likely" to rehire ex-employees. Twenty-one percent said they would be "somewhat likely."

Only 1 percent indicated they would be "very unlikely" to rehire former employees.

For many employers, the thought of rehiring former workers means less training time, a plus from the perspective of the employer.

"If they are willing to come back, the onboarding time is greatly diminished," said Ryan Gatto, a regional manager for Accountemps, a Robert Half company.

In addition to less training time, Gatto said these individuals also know the culture and the management infrastructure of the firm, which helps not only the HR professionals, but also the managers overseeing those individuals.

For some employers, the decision to hire back a former employee might have to do with lack of talent.

"I think many employers in this particular candidate market know that it is very difficult to find good talent, especially if you are talking about specialized skill sets," Gatto said. "To go back to the employment pool and revisit individuals who left the organization, they hire them back because a lot of companies are struggling to find very good talent."

Familiarity also may play a role. Gatto said when individuals are new to the organization, there's always question marks.

"Whether or not they are going to be the right fit for not only the job responsibility, but also the culture of the office environment as well," Gatto.

And while HR managers might be eager to rehire former workers, the workers themselves might have other ideas.

In fact, when workers were asked how likely they would be to apply for a job with a previous employer, only 17 percent indicated they would be "very likely" to do that. Thirty-one percent said they would be "somewhat likely." The majority though, 52 percent, indicated it would be "unlikely" for them to apply for a job with their former company.

When asked why they wouldn't return, workers gave a list of reasons:

  • 23 percent said they didn't like the management;
  • 14 percent complained about the corporate culture;
  • 14 percent said they didn't like their job responsibilities;
  • 10 percent said the company burned bridges when they left;
  • 6 percent said the company shutdown;
  • 5 percent indicated they didn't leave  on good terms;
  • 5 percent said their former employer didn't offer good pay;
  • 3 percent indicated a desire to move forward in their careers.

For those that indicated they would apply for a job with their former employer, Gatto said it could be because they are lured back by a familiar workplace.

"A lot of people always think about, when they do leave, that the grass is always greener at a different organization," Gatto said. "And so therefore, maybe they have experienced a type of environment that is just not right for them when they thought that it would be different, and they just want to come back to the place that they are comfortable with."

And for those that do decide to return, they might just be able to call the shots.

Gatto said candidates in this particular market know how valued they are, especially if they have a specialized skill set, and companies need to utilize any and all resources to find a talent.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor at New Jersey 101.5. Email him at