The Counteroffer Conundrum

Here at Ionic, January has been an extremely busy month for our permanent recruitment team. In this month alone, we’ve seen an increase of over 45% new permanent construction jobs being registered with us.

With such an increase in construction companies looking to recruit and the mass skills shortages in the construction sector, it’s created the perfect storm as companies  risk of losing staff as fast  as they are recruiting.

In the last 12 months, construction companies have chosen to make serious counter offers to staff who have given in their notice, as many team members are business or project critical and they simply can’t afford to lose them.

From our experience, we’ve seen counter offers in excess of 20-25% of the person’s annual salary!

Our permanent recruitment team speak with large numbers of permanently employed candidates on a daily basis. During the conversation, we always ask their reasons for wanting to change employers and it’s seldom that money come into the equation.

More often than not, candidates want to seek out pastures new because they feel undervalued, unappreciated or they haven’t received any investment in their training and development and have stagnated in their role.

This results in you taking the bold step to attend interviews, negotiating an offer of employment and accepting a new job with an employer that promises to offer you all of things your present company hasn’t given to you.

The day then arrives of you handing in your notice with your manager and instead of wishing you good luck, they hit you with a significant counter offer of more money.

We all obviously come to work to earn money and while an ‘instant’ counter offer of a 20-25% increase on your basic salary is always nice; you should take the following points into consideration.

Why are you now so important? All of a sudden you have become ‘employee of the month’. Your manager also tells you that they were actually planning to talk to you about the promotion, training, or salary increase that you haven’t received, but you beat them to it! If this was the case, then why didn’t they instigate the conversation with you before you handed in your notice?

  • Retaining is cheaper than recruiting – According to figures produced by the HR Review website, the cost of hiring a new employee currently stands at around £30k. This takes into consideration the man power costs of sifting CV’s, interviewing candidates and negotiating offers. It also includes paying recruitment agency fees, retraining new team members and loss of productivity during this period. With such a massive outlay to your employer at stake, offering you another £5-10k on your basic salary is actually saving them £20k in the long run!
  • The more things change, the more they stay the same. Your frustrations and general unhappiness that you’ve encountered in recent months with your present company will remain long after your short term happiness about salary increase has vanished. You spend a large amount of your time at work and it’s important that you are happy while being there. Money can ‘paper over cracks’ in the short term, but doesn’t hide the underlying problems.
  • Your card is marked. Your manager may have put up a good fight and massaged your ego to keep you, as you were business or project critical; however, they’ll never forget your disloyalty of wanting to leave. It’s a fairly safe bet to say that when the project is completed, or they experience a downturn, your name will be fairly close to the top of the redundancy list. It’s important to remember that your manager made the counter offer for their benefit, not yours and you are on borrowed time with the company.
  • The trust has gone. When you hand in your notice, you have effectively shown your manager that you have the ability to be a ‘distrustful’ employee. Once you’ve agreed to accept the counter offer and your manager’s anxiety levels have eased, new emotions of resentment and suspicion will set in. You are also likely to suddenly fall outside of the ‘circle of trust’ and will be spending time at the company on the outside of what is going on. Co-workers may also know and resent you for getting a marked increase in salary for doing the same job as they are.
  • You’ll be back(on the market). Carry out a search on the internet and every single recruitment agency website will all quote the same figure that 75-80% of people who accept a counter offer are back on the market looking for a new job within six months. While this figure is largely unsubstantiated, our business comprises of over 50 years combined recruitment experience and we have experienced this level of candidates returning to the job seeking market within the much mooted six month period.

It’s a natural emotion to take the path of least resistance and buckle under the emotional pressure that comes with  handing in your notice, but remember to stay strong, as it’s a short term hurdle that you have to overcome and think about your long term future.

 

 

 

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