The challenge of counter-offers isn’t new, especially in the finance job market. Though the last few years have seen a huge swing in the availability of skilled talent in the marketplace, the impact of a global pandemic has seen the jobs market bounce around at an unprecedented rate.
The UK governments furlough scheme, Brexit, remote working, candidates’ indecision about moving and companies now increasing their recruitment drive means the market is, and will continue to be volatile for some time.
Finance candidates now appreciate their value more than ever, and unless the right offer is made, the possible chance of a counter-offer being made is more likely.
First, let’s explore how counter-offers work in today’s finance recruiting marketing.
Counter-offer: The Definition
A candidate decides to leave an organisation (we will cover the reasons why a little later on), and the individual in question will usually either:
- Work with a financial recruiter to secure a new role,
- or apply to the company themselves.
The finance candidate is made an offer which they assess, and then if the offer meets their criteria, the candidate proceeds to resign.
Their current company then asks them to reconsider leaving; as a general rule offering additional benefits, including a salary increase.
The candidate is then left with a decision to accept the improved offer from their current employer or not.
The Current Dynamics of The Hiring Market
Here are a few data points that go some way to explaining the volatile recruiting market.
Data from the Office of National Statistics confirms that, on average, around 9% of people changed jobs each year between 2000 and 2018; this ranged from a post-recession low of about 5.7% in 2010 to a high of around 10.9% in both 2017 and 2018.
People didn’t change companies in 2020, so logically, pressure is building in the system as candidates now consider moving.
As a recent workplace report from Microsoft reveals, these figures are mirrored in most parts of the western world.
The forced move towards hybrid working encouraged Microsoft to create their own Work Trends Index. The study outlines findings from more than 30,000 people in 31 countries and analyses trillions of productivity and labour signals across Microsoft 365 and LinkedIn. It also includes perspectives from experts who have spent decades studying collaboration and social capital.
This revealed that over 40 percent of the global workforce are considering leaving their employer this year.
As the UK economy improves month on month and organisations are on a recruitment drive to build their finance teams, it is predicted that there will be a mass movement of people.
So how will this impact the hiring triad? Let me share what we are seeing as experienced finance recruiters.
The Hiring Triad and Counter-offers
Counter-offers are complex, and depending on the finance role, a valued individual could be counter-offered to stay.
There are three parts of a triad with or without a recruitment expert like us in this scenario.
- We have a client who is either filling a vacancy or building their finance team
- The candidate who wants to move organisations to develop their finance career
- The candidate’s current employer who wants the candidate to stay.
Each has their own story about their motivations to hire, move or counter-offer; let’s explore these in more detail.
Why Companies Make Counter-offers
I know it’s logical, isn’t it; a company doesn’t want to lose a staff member! A counter-offer generally happens when someone decides to resign; often, their hiring manager has no idea their employee was considering a move.
Picture the current scene from a manager’s eyes looking at a resignation letter, especially post the pandemic.
Last year was a challenge, and many organisations did lose revenue, and their growth was stalled, which they now want to recover with help from their ‘A’ team.
The economy is starting to recover, with many companies recognising how valuable their finance teams are.
It is logical then that if Amanda or Andrew resigns, a finance manager’s first reaction is to ask them what it might take to stay.
With no one to fill their place, a full order book and some team members only just starting to perform again, it would be a logical reaction.
It makes complete sense to make a financial counter-offer in the manager’s mind, particularly for senior roles.
The challenge is this short term fix often has longer-term consequences.
You will find lots of data online suggesting candidates who accept a counter-offer will leave after 18 months. Examination of our data here at Rebus Recruitment suggests this might happen even sooner.
Let’s explore how candidate motivation to move is changing.
A Finance Candidate’s Career Journey and Counter Offers
Now, let’s discuss the candidate. Why does the finance candidate want to move in the first place?
The reasons vary, and having placed hundreds of finance candidates in diverse roles from Accounts Assistants to CFOs; there is a pattern.
As a recruitment professional serving the finance sector, the first question we ask is the candidates ‘why’; In essence, why do they want to move?
Historically geography, career progression and poor managers were the key reasons. Though recently flexibility around working from home, holiday entitlement, pensions and salary are being mentioned more as motivators to move.
If money is the main driver, we check that the individual has had a conversation with their manager; not always something they are willing to do. The truth is a conversation like this can be a win-win for the candidate, and let’s face it, their current employer too.
Increasing an individual’s salary and benefits overall can stop issues. Let’s be honest, twenty days holiday and a poor pension contribution are often drivers for people to move.
Finally, let’s look at the company that thought they had made an excellent offer to an ideal candidate.
How Hiring Managers Can Prepare For Counter-offers
There is nothing worse than making an offer to a great candidate who then says no. However, there are ways to prepare for the situation.
Working with a finance recruitment company that understands the market is a game-changer here which I’ll cover a little later. First though:
Once you’ve gone through identifying and interviewing the ideal candidate for your finance team and extending your offer, it can be demoralising to hear they’ve received a counter-offer from their existing employer. However, if you address this possibility early, you can potentially avoid a battle.
Ask your candidate whether they think their existing employer will try to keep them around and what they’re likely to do if a counter-offer does appear. This is your opportunity to discover what might tempt the person you want on your team to stay with their existing employer.
For instance, if your candidate tells you that they would like to be offered more money, but they feel their existing employer can’t give them the company culture they want, you can highlight the benefits of your own culture and offer to introduce your candidate to some of the people they’ll be working with, so they can begin to develop bonds as they get an initial experience of how different a culture can be.
Focus on Your Strengths
During your initial interview with your candidate, ask them what drew them to this job opportunity. For instance, can you offer the chance to get in on the ground floor of some exciting new projects or finance technology?
What kind of mentorship and training opportunities can you provide to give your employee more chances to expand their skills?
When a counter-offer arrives, knowing what sparked your candidate’s decision to look for a new role can help you sell your position based on the factors you know matter most to that person.
Work With A Specialist Finance Recruiter
There are plenty of reasons why working with a specialist recruiter can make your life easier when you’re looking for new talent. Recruiters help you find likely employees to be drawn to your specific role and company. This means that you have an increased chance of attracting employees with the same values as you.
When your recruiter finds candidates specifically suited to your position, your chances of selling the role as the “ideal” opportunity go up. Your recruiter can also help you with strategies to advertise your position effectively. Because they have a deep knowledge of your industry and its people, so they can advise you on which benefits to highlight during interviews.
A recruiter may also be able to give you some background knowledge on how to respond when an existing employer jumps in with a counter-offer. They’ll help advise you on when you should give up and look for another employee and when you should offer more to keep your employee. This extra assistance can prevent employers from making decisions based on emotion rather than logic.
Keep in Touch
This particular strategy is something here at Rebus Recruitment we recommend to all our clients.
You can arrange additional meetings to discuss what you might do to convince them to join your team when this happens. During follow-up conversations, you can showcase all the features that make your role so exciting by introducing candidates to staff, taking them on a tour, and more.
Invite your candidate to come and join you for lunch one day at the office, so they can see what it’s like to connect with the rest of their team. Set up a conversation with other employees who have had similar roles, so the candidate can ask questions about what their job might entail and quell any concerns they might have.
If you can’t meet face-to-face with your candidate as they consider your offer, make sure you keep in touch through email, phone calls and video conferences again. Let them know that you’re on hand to answer any questions that may make the transition easier.
If you know that your top choice for a new employee is still attached to their existing employer, your recruiting partner will have other suitable candidates to choose from.
A financial recruitment agency with experience in navigating counter offers is vital in today’s market.
Reach out to Rebus Recruitment to find out how we can help you find, offer, and ensure successful hiring in today’s marketplace.
You can connect by emailing us here or calling our direct line on 01282 930 930
About Rebus Financial Recruitment
Rebus Financial Recruitment provides a specialist and focused recruitment service to its customers, which historically range from various organisations, including SMEs, to large PLCs.
We strive to offer both the client and candidate a seamless recruitment experience. Using our expertise, we get to the heart of employer and employee needs, and, in doing so, we match the two perfectly. To find out more, get in contact with one of our team today, or you can call us on 01282 930930.