Key Factors to Consider when Dealing with a Counteroffer

In this article I discuss the prevalence of the counteroffer in the financial services market. Being given a counteroffer might be flattering, but should you take it?

In my many years as a specialist financial services recruiter, I spend a lot of time matching job seekers with career building opportunities. I have also witnessed many applicants who have responded positively to a job offer and then been caught up in a web of guilt when their existing employer starts telling them how valuable they are, and that they don’t want to lose them. Sometimes this discussion also comes with the promise of more money and more responsibility.

I counsel my candidates carefully when working through a hiring process, to ensure that their reasons for leaving their current employer are sound. Often the reasons involve:

  • Wanting more stability in your role and business conditions
  • Not getting along with a manager
  • Feeling undervalued
  • Wanting more career development opportunities
  • Wanting career advancement and being ready for the next step
  • Having a direct boss who is unlikely to budge from their role
  • Not having anywhere to progress to in your current role
  • Needing a change
  • Wanting to make a greater contribution
  • Wanting a bigger role with more responsibilities
  • Working long hours
  • And wanting a salary increase

For the individuals whose reason for leaving is solely about money, and nothing else, I recommend that they ask their existing employer for a pay rise.

Once a letter of offer is signed by a successful applicant, I talk to them about the likelihood that their current employer may make them a counteroffer. It is certainly the easiest course of action for your existing employer to retain you, having invested in your career and development. We all know that recruiting to replace a valued employee takes time and money, particularly in the current market.

In some cases, receiving a counteroffer might be the first time you have felt valued by your current employer. This should tell you something! If this is the case, you may also need to think about whether you have received regular feedback throughout your role and felt engaged and connected throughout your tenure with the company. Now is the time to be very clear about why you were considering your options in the job market and understand your underlying reasons for seeking new opportunities. Can any of your reasons for leaving be overcome by your current employer?

I work to stay very close to a successful candidate once they have accepted an offer through me, to ensure that their enthusiasm for a new role is maintained. We talk about the potential career development opportunities and the senior staff and colleagues they will be working with in their new role. I make sure they have all the information they need and that they are confident it is the next right step for their career. I ensure that they have done their due diligence about a prospective employer and have weighed up the pros and cons. I also talk to clients about making sure their employer value propositions are competitive and that their induction processes are solid.

Most organisations I work with will not get into an auction for a new starter. If you are considering a counteroffer and the only reason you are leaving is salary related, then you will most likely be best placed accepting it. Only you can decide if you can be truly happy at your current organisation and whether staying will have the right impact on your future career. Think it through long and hard.

Having said that, don’t let accepting or attempting to negotiate counteroffers be a regular occurrence as you may just burn bridges with other employers and recruiters. I certainly wouldn’t tap a habitual offender on the shoulder as I would have concerns about integrity and your likelihood to be a time waster. In accepting a counteroffer, you may also find that you lose a sense of trust from your existing employer who may now have slightly less confidence in your long-term loyalty.

As a recruiter, I proudly provide the vehicle to get to your next role. There are many reasons for leaving a role and one I am hearing more and more of at the moment is the need for greater career and business stability. Leaving a role for reasons of career advancement and to work with great, smart, and inspiring people takes a leap out of your comfort zone but may just be the next step to career success. And, if you do take that counteroffer and find out down the track that things are not working out – get in touch!

If you are in the market for a new financial service role in 2022, talk to us about career opportunities and current market conditions. For available roles that are either exclusive to Oxygen Recruitment & HR or not yet on the market, then get in touch with our Sydney based team here. We can help you take the next step in your financial services career.