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Do counter offers work?

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Sam Stocks

A hot topic in recent weeks has been counter offers and how common they have become in the current tech recruitment market. Question is, do they work? Depending on your sources stats may vary slightly, but, somewhere between 60-80% of candidates who accept a counter offer leave within the next 6 months. Shocking numbers! So why bother in the first place?

I guess the question we should ask is why do companies make counter offers? They will almost always tell you it's because you're a vital part of the team and they love having you in the company. Most likely though employers aren't telling you the full story. Recruitment is a costly exercise both time wise and financially. It's also a time consuming process often taking 3-8 weeks and many hours away from usual work duties for hiring managers and senior members of staff. If they hire someone who doesn't work out and have to look again this can really spiral into a expensive exercise!

Companies and senior management are well aware of these costs and the struggle hiring can be in a very candidate driven market, so they will often throw money at the problem to try and make someone stay. If your £40,000 software dev says they have taken a new role at £45,000 and you offer them £48,000 to stay is most likely easier and cheaper than replacing them. Companies know this and will utilise it to their advantage.

My advice? Remember the reasons you are leaving and be firm on these.We would all love to spend our entire career with one company and grow through the ranks but rarely does this happen. 99% of candidates I speak to have multiple reasons for leaving beyond salary; A new challenge, career progression, different tech, remote working, others in the business have left ... These don't just go away because someone offered you more money. Very rarely can all the prior issues be fixed because you said you were leaving. If your employer really valued you they would have tried to fix these issues before you decided to leave rather than waiting until you are on your way out the door. When deciding to search having conviction and being clear on why you want to leave and what you want in your new role is really key, be clear on these and stick to them when a counter offer comes in.

If you're in the tech market and searching for a job at the moment be prepared for a counter offer and know how to deal with it. Do they work? Sometimes, but the large majority of the time, no. Candidates I speak with often end up leaving 6 months down the line and regretting they didn't take the exciting new opportunity they rejected in favour of staying put.

If you are looking for advice or your job search or how to manage a hiring process please feel free to reach out.​

Email Sam at SamStocks@SpectrumIT.co.uk or call 02380 765 304 to speak to me directly.