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What to consider before accepting a counter-offer

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​Counter-offers are becoming widespread in today’s climate, with employers using them as a temporary measure to attempt to retain talent. Interestingly, the Financial Times report this as an ongoing concern with, “40 percent of employers [having] made a counter-offer to try and keep an employee who has received a job elsewhere”(Financial Times: UK employers increasingly resort to bidding wars to retain staff, says survey). In further research, the CIPD state in their Market Labour Outlook report that, “51 per cent of those already using counter-offers as part of their retention strategy say they have increased over the past year” (CIPD: Labour market outlook views from employers). Research shows that counter-offers are most prevalent in London, with 58% of employers based in the capital making counter-offers in the past 12 months.

However, there are mixed views on the effectiveness of counter-offers, with 29% of UK employers believing the tactic is ineffective and potentially a short-term option that businesses use to prevent spending money on rehiring(CIPD: Labour market outlook views from employers).

With this in mind, it’s important for professionals to be aware of the driving factors behind counter-offers to help them make an informed decision that’s right for their career, goals and lifestyle. IDEX Consulting have produced some key information and guidance to help professionals review their options if they are faced with a counter-offer from a current employer – download our guidance here.

We also advise professionals to consider the following:

Evaluate your reasons for resigning

If a clear motive is the need for a higher salary, it’s important to review why this wasn’t addressed earlier. High performing organisations not only ‘say’ they value employees, they demonstrate this with regular pay reviews, support and development opportunities. One question to ask, “[is] your employer trying to avoid spending time and money on finding a replacement by making a counter-offer or is it indeed a genuine reflection of your perceived value within the organisation?”(Indeed Career Guide: How to handle a counter-offer).

While the above may be sobering to consider, the statistics agree;80% of those who accept counter-offers leave their current employer within six months, and nine out of ten leave within a year. Considering where that extra pay is sourced is also useful. Is it simply an advance on an upcoming pay review? If your reason for job dissatisfaction is something other than pay, or at the very least something alongside pay, sticking with that initial change might be the best option.

Consider the impact of accepting a counter-offer

“69% of employers believe that accepting [a counter-offer] negatively impacts long-term job satisfaction” with “78% believing candidates turn into passive jobseekers post-counteroffer, and 69% perceiving decreased work commitment” (Gitnux Market Data: accepting a counter-offer statistics and trends 2023). Evidence shows that professionals who accept a counter-offer, remain disengaged with their current employer because their initial reasons for leaving were never addressed.

Compare the offer

Take the time to compare your options and look beyond the salary. Consider career development opportunities to understand which organisation might be more committed to your personal growth. What training pathways do they offer? Company culture also needs to be a good fit; ensure there is a close alignment between your personal values and that of your employers.

Seek advice from professionals

With a wealth of experience, recruitment consultants can offer informed, impartial advice. Counter-offers are a common occurrence, your consultant will have certainly guided many through the process before you. They are there to support you throughout your career journey, if you have concerns or worries ask their advice.

Take your time

Counter-offers can feel like a pleasant bonus or a conflicting challenge. Make sure you take the time to properly assess your options and different employment contracts. Don’t be pressured into deciding quickly. We recommend asking for at least a day or two before making your decision.

For more information on how to navigate counter-offers and / or for impartial career advice, contact one of our expert consultants.