Stats Series 1: Avoiding the Counter Offer Trap

We are starting a series of blog posts entitled the “Stats Series” (“Stats” standing for “Statistics”). As a recruitment business we have access to a lot of recruitment data which gives us the ability to see trends and predict the outcomes in certain scenarios. As part of this series we will be sharing some of these stats with our readers to highlight how they affect certain situations.

Disclaimer: Please note that these stats are very basic level stats which include things such as interview numbers, how many offers we get and the number of starters etc. No personal info is used or shared in these stats.

This week we will look at Counter Offers and the stats surrounding these.

What is a counter offer?

A counter offer is when an employee resigns from their existing company to take up a new offer of employment elsewhere and their existing employer offers them better contractual terms to stay.

We have taken a look back over the last couple of years of counter offer data and were surprised by what the data revealed.

  • In the last 2 years we have had 21 instances of candidates receiving counter offers either for offers we have had for them or offers they have received elsewhere.
  • Of those 21 candidates, 10 candidates rejected the counter offers and moved positions successfully.
  • That leaves 11 candidates who decided to take a counter offer.

Now this is where things get interesting…

  • Of those 11 candidates, 9 came back to us within 3-6 months to express their regret at taking a counter offer.
  • Of these 9 we were able to only reintroduce 4 candidates successfully to the companies that they were originally offered with.
  • The reasons stated by these 9 candidates for why they regretted their decisions included:
    • The company made it very difficult for them once they knew they had intended to leave.
    • The company hired new staff in a clear attempt to replace them.
    • The reasons they had originally wanted to leave did not change with an uplift in salary/title – the problems were still there.
    • Two of the candidates found themselves being relocated to undesirable locations.
  • The 5 other candidate reintroductions were not accepted by the companies that offered them originally for the following two main reasons:
    • The company had subsequently refilled the positions.
    • The company now felt the candidate was unreliable and they were therefore no longer interested.
  • All 5 of those candidates found it incredibly difficult to find a new opportunity following their decision to actually leave their current employer. This was simply because they had already explored most of the job opportunities during their original search and not enough time had passed to allow for them to be reconsidered by companies.

These stats highlight something that we, as recruiters, all know – counter offers do not work for the overwhelming majority of candidates. In a competitive candidate market place it is so much easier for a company to counter offer a member of staff than for them to try and find someone new. But ultimately the relationship between employer and employee is usually irreparably damaged by this point.

We wrote a detailed article on Counter Offers in 2 parts (Part 1 here and Part 2 here) previously.

We will be continuing this stat series in the coming months to highlight other situations faced by clients and candidates and what we can learn from these numbers.