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9 January 2015

Counter offers on the rise for top talent in 2015

Year ahead will be ‘candidate’s market’, says recruitment firm

Two thirds (65 per cent) of finance leaders have seen an increase in counter offers over the last 12 months, as employers compete for the best talent, research has shown.

The latest ONS figures suggest that hiring has returned to pre-recessionary levels. However, the level of suitably skilled candidates still remains low across the UK.

The survey of 200 finance leaders from recruitment consultancy Robert Half indicates that businesses recognise that the talent pool is shrinking. To compensate, the best candidates are now receiving multiple job offers and counteroffers.

Almost two thirds (64 per cent) of senior finance professionals are also more likely to offer a sign-on bonus to attract top candidates than they were last year, according to the report.


The research shows that the war for talent remains fierce and 2015 is shaping up to be a job candidate’s market, the recruitment firm said.

Phil Sheridan, UK managing director of Robert Half said it was now more important than ever for firms to act quickly: “Those that are slow to get their offers out of the door will find they get left behind,” he said.

“Flexibility is also key – companies that are too rigid with their job offers may find they cannot secure their top choice of candidate. Remuneration expectations are increasing so businesses need to prepare to negotiate with their chosen candidate.”

One-fifth (20 per cent) of respondents said the prevalence of counter offers had ‘increased significantly’ over the past 12 months, while 45 per cent said they had ‘increased somewhat’.

Just 1 per cent of finance leaders said the number of counter offers had decreased significantly within the year.

Although counter offers can be a strong bargaining tool for job seekers, they are not an effective long term strategy to retain staff, Sheridan said. When asked about how the trust between employee and employer was affected, 55 per cent of the survey’s respondents said it was negatively impacted.

“To keep their best employees, companies need to ensure that they are paying competitively with an appropriate salary and bonus structure,” Sheridan said.

“Companies will also do well to focus on initiatives that support work-life balance, such as remote and flexible working, as they become increasingly important to employees.

“Whilst counteroffers may appear to work in the short term, employers must address the underlying issues in order to retain top performers. If not, it is likely that the employee will leave, albeit in a more prolonged way and with a higher salary,” he added.

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