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Should you accept a counter-offer?

Suzanne Feeney – Country Manager at Robert Walters’ Dublin discusses counter-offers and how to manage them.

As the recruitment market improves in Dublin, the frequency of counter offers has become a lot more prevalent. Ever since the downfall in the economy, professionals in certain sectors were relieved that they simply had a job. Once basic needs were met, people in Ireland were generally happy. However, over the past six to twelve months, people’s attitudes towards their careers have begun changing.

Some professionals have remained in the same role for the past five years and have seen no bonus or only minor increases to their basic salary, this being especially applicable within Irish banks. As the market continues to make a slow recovery, and as companies begin to reinvest in technology, professionals are becoming more confident to seek new challenges and to grow their skills and expertise elsewhere.

Here at Robert Walters, we have witnessed a notable increase in the number of counter offers being made across all sectors, from large global banks to SMEs, as employers seek to retain their top talent.

Why do employers counter offer?

In short, employers do not want to see top talent leave their business, especially when people have a particular expertise, whether in finance, risk, compliance, IT etc.

What is a typical counter offer scenario?

The counter offer scenario can be quite an uncomfortable situation for both the employee and employer. The employee has verbally accepted an offer from another business and hands in their notice to resign. However, after having accepted this resignation and listened to the employee’s motivations for wanting to leave, the current employer subsequently makes a counter offer against the prospective new employer.

A counter offer can include anything from a substantial increase in salary to a promotion or a new corporate title. Sometimes an employer may go so far as to create a completely new role for the employee with the hope of enticing the valuable member of staff to stay with the business.

For example, this year we saw a counter offer situation where the employee was offered a €10,000 increase on their basic salary along with a promotion and a new corporate title.

A counter offer can include anything from a substantial increase in salary to a promotion or a new corporate title.


Disadvantages of a counter offer

If a counter offer is accepted, trust can become a major testing factor between employee and employer. Employers may question their employees’ motives and doubt their loyalty to the business. Surprisingly, we find that a large percentage of people who accept a counter offer from their employer return to the job market within twelve months.

Should I accept a counter offer?

When deciding whether to accept a counter offer, you need to fully understand the ‘real’ reasons for wanting to move.

You should ask yourself these questions and consider the following before contemplating a move:

  • Why are you here? Why are you looking to move jobs?
  • Is there anything that would keep you in your current organisation: promotion/new role/pay rise?
  • Have you discussed career options with your current boss?
  • Describe your ideal job
  • Are there any companies you would like to work for? If so, why?
  • What do you want out of your career?
  • What is important to you? Money/work-life balance etc.
  • What motivates you in a working environment?
  • What de-motivates you in a working environment?
  • Is location important?
  • Where do you want to be in a few years time?

Once a person is fully clear on their main motivations for considering a move in the first instance, counter offers can become irrelevant.

Seeking a new opportunity? To discuss your current job seeking or recruitment needs in more detail, please get in touch.


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