First of all, congratulations on your new job. You’ve put in hard work: updated your CV, applied to too many jobs to count, impressed the interviewer, and finally you’ve got your new job offer.
And when you’ve handed in your letter of resignation, you can be confident in expecting a counter offer. As a recruitment agency, counter offers are something we see on a daily basis and discuss with everyone we work with.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows there were a record 1.29 million job openings between January and March this year. This demand for talent means you as an employee have more choice than ever when it comes to where to work. This in turn makes managers and employers that much more desperate to keep you, the employee. Which should make it no surprise that counter offers are becoming more commonplace and more aggressive.
Unfortunately, we find that by the time it comes to the counter offer, it’s too little too late. But before we get any further, let’s make it clear what a counter offer really is.
A counter offer is an offer from your current (soon to be ex) employer to stop you leaving.
They can be financial, such as a pay raise or a bonus: but it can also be a promise of a promotion, promise of training courses, different clients, the opportunity to hire someone to support you with your role, or more flexible working.
Counter offers don’t always happen when you resign. They sometimes happen when your employer spots a few red flags and senses your imminent departure: Last minute dentist appointments or early finishes.
While a counter offer may seem like your employer recognising your skills and not wanting to lose a valued member of the team, the truth is often less glamorous.
Obviously if you receive a counter offer it’s natural to assume it’s because you’re good at your job and your company doesn’t want you to leave. However, 80% of people who accept a counter offer end up leaving within the next six months anyway. Because counter offers very rarely address the real reasons you’re leaving in the first place.
And your employer knows this. Because they know statistically you will still leave within six months, a counter offer is a way of delaying your leaving and giving the company more time to find your replacement: You don’t become worth an extra £5,000 or £15,000 to your employer overnight.
“Most likely, it is not because you’ve suddenly become a more valuable employee. It’s because your manager doesn’t want to deal with the work disruption your departure could create.”
There’s a number of reasons why companies make counter offers:
Unless you’ve already declined the counter offer, we would advise to not say anything.
Before you tell your new employer about your counter offer you should ask yourself, what are you aiming to get out of the conversation? Using a counter offer as leverage to negotiate a salary or more flexible working is something that we see from time to time here at Herd Digital: But it’s not something we advise. It can leave a sour taste and it doesn’t start your relationship with your new employer in a good light.
However, If you’re working with an external recruitment agency, be honest and open with them. They will understand your situation and will be able to give you advice on how to handle the counter offer that’s specific to you.
No. If there’s a 1% chance you would accept a counter offer, don’t resign. Instead speak to your manager and have a frank and honest conversation; negotiate a pay rise, promotion, or whatever it is that needs to change to make you stay.
But we also understand that nothing about starting a new job is easy. It’s a daunting prospect to uproot your life, say goodbye to colleagues you’ve worked with for years and put your faith into an unknown employer. So it can be all too easy to be tempted by a counter offer when one is on the table in front of you. But before you accept or reject a counter offer, there’s a few things you should consider:
But if you are working with a recruiter, discuss your counter offer with them. No consultant wants to sour a relationship with a client by placing a candidate with them who leaves to go back to their old job after a couple of months. So it’s always in a recruiters best interest to give you honest advice and help you make the decision that’s right for you.
The best thing to do is to make sure that when you resign, you explain that you’re leaving because you’re being offered something by another company that your current employer can’t match.
This could be the opportunity to work with a specific client, getting experience in a new area, or a better location. This will also help to ensure your boss doesn’t have an emotional response or take it personally when you’re leaving. When you resign your boss is likely to ask you what they can do to keep you. It’s important at this point to politely say
“Unfortunately my mind is made up, please respect my decision as I’ve enjoyed my time here and I’m keen to leave on good terms”.
It’s very likely that your employer won’t give up, and if you have a long notice period, you can receive multiple counter offers throughout that time. But it’s important to remember, you should never have to quit your job to be given what you want, to be paid the money you’re worth, or given the promotion you deserve.
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