A recent article published on BCG.com unpacks the idea that businesses are overlooking their corporate alumni and workforce returnees in the war for talent. Founded in 1963, the Boston Consulting Group partners with leaders in business and society to tackle their most important challenges and capture their greatest opportunities. This includes the intricate landscape of modern-day recruitment. 

Alumni programs have been well-established as a key driver of strategic information, and, at a time when most people will change careers between 5 and 7 times in the course of their lives, it’s important to include valuable employees into your talent pool beyond the exit interview. You never know when the time will be right for them to tackle another opportunity within your organization or return to the workforce full time.

How Things Have Changed – The Jungle Gym To The Top

The BCG team notes that the ladder to the top has changed to more of a jungle gym in recent years. Instead of climbing one rung after another by rote, employees are opting for a more nimble approach to their careers – moving laterally, taking leaps, boomeranging, and even getting off at times before starting their trajectory at another point along the employment timeline.

This includes employees who:

  • find roles elsewhere to gain critical experience
  • choose to pause their career to pursue further studies
  • take time off to raise young children
  • pivot to explore new opportunities in terms of personal growth
  • take time off to care for an elderly person
  • take time off for any number of personal reasons that pertain to work-life balance

Once these individuals consider employment once more, it only makes sense to have the door open to your talent pool and consider them for inclusion as a part of your team again.

Why Employees Leave

The Benefits of Employing Alumni & Returning Workers From Your Talent Pool

The most obvious benefit of staying in touch with alumni and returning workers is that it is a less costly way of recruiting. According to recent findings by the Society for Human Resource Management, it can cost between six to nine months of a person’s annual salary to hire and train a new employee. This can skyrocket to 200% of a given person’s salary if they are highly skilled. 

Alumni and returning employees are far easier to recruit (if you go about it the right way) and also have the added benefit of understanding the company’s culture. Moreover, they are known entities with trackable performance records and require less training and onboarding support. All of this comes together in a very attractive hiring package that paves the way for long-term recruitment success.


Do not underestimate the value that corporate alumni and returning workers can add to your organization’s talent pool. The ladder to the top has evolved into a jungle gym, with employees tailoring their career trajectories to suit their unique lifestyle requirements. Organizations that keep up with this trend will reap the benefits in years to come.