Robert Half have found two-thirds (65 per cent) of UK finance leaders experiencing an increase in counter offers over the past 12 months, with one in five (20 per cent) saying they have increased significantly. The result came through a study among 200 finance leader and also demonstrated that counter offers are not the only signs of increased competition in the marketplace. Almost two thirds (64 per cent) of senior finance professionals are now more likely to offer a sign-on bonus to attract top candidates than they were last year.
“With counteroffers increasing and a shrinking talent pool, it is now more important than ever for firms to act quickly,” said Phil Sheridan, UK managing director of Robert Half. “Those that are slow to get their offers out of the door will find they get left behind. 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.”
Although counter offers can be a strong bargaining tool for job seekers, they are not an effective long term strategy to retain staff. When asked about how the trust between employee and employer was affected, more than half (55 per cent) of finance leaders said it was negatively impacted. In order to retain top talent, underlying issues of discontent must be addressed.
“In order to keep their best employees, companies need to ensure that they are paying competitively with an appropriate salary and bonus structure,” adds Sheridan. “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 counter offers 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.”