Do you stay or do you go?

Making the tough decision when handling counter offers
Updated: 20 Jan 2016

Following economic recovery and more candidate movement in the market, counter offers are on the rise as employers fight to keep from losing talented employees, says recruiting expert Hays.

According to the 2011 Hays Salary Guide, 71 percent of the companies surveyed said it was either their policy to counter-offer resigning staff or they counter-offered occasionally. The remaining 29 percent said they did not counter offer at all. So we are now seeing over two thirds of companies increasingly employing this tactic as a strategy for long-term staff retention.

“In today’s skill short market, it is understandable that employers may attempt to reverse an employee’s decision to leave if they have the right skills, cultural fit and are highly valued by the company,” says Emma Charnock, Regional Director of Hays in Hong Kong & China.

“We are seeing top candidates particularly in skill short areas receiving multiple offers and counter offers. But many of these candidates are assessing new opportunities and are moving for the right level of responsibility and career prospects, rather than a salary increase.

“That’s why a successful counter offer involves more than just money and employers need to make sure they address the underlying issue of why their employee decided to look for a new job in the first place.

“If candidates find themselves being counter offered, we advise them to reflect on the reasons they looked for a new role initially and gain commitment from their employer to tackle these issues before accepting the counter offer. For example, if their current role lacks long-term career growth potential or they are feeling unchallenged and bored, they need to gain commitment that their employer will develop a long-term career path for them and will revise their duties and responsibilities.

“If they can see scope to overcome these issues and their motivation for leaving is beyond just a salary increase, accepting a counter offer could actually end up being a great opportunity for their career. But if no commitment is made to address the issues that led them to enter the job market initially, then in the interests of their career advancement it might be best to thank their boss for the offer, and move on.”

Questions a candidate may want to ask themselves when considering a counter offer:

  • What are the key factors that led you to look at roles with other organisations?
  • Will you still feel valued by your current employer even though the counter offer appears to only be made as a result of you potentially leaving the company?
  • Will you be able to overcome the issues that initially led you to resign if you accept the counter offer?
  • A popular choice – have you drawn up a ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ list for both employers?
  • Can other incentives such as training or memberships be added to the counter offer to make it more attractive?
  • Which organisation will provide you with better long-term career growth potential and opportunities?

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

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About Hays

Hays is the leading global specialist recruiting group. It is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide. It operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments.


As at 30 June 2011, Hays employed 7,620 staff operating from 255 offices in 31 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2011, Hays reported net fees of £672 million and operating profit of £114 million and placed around 60,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 190,000 people into temporary assignments. 31% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific.


Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the United Kingdom and the USA.


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