Career advice - the curse of the employer ‘buy back’

From 2009 to 2013, the market for marketing candidates was very much a client led or buyers’ market. Organisations had the ability and candidate pool to pick and choose from a range of good candidates. This pattern began to change at the beginning of 2014. At Michael Page Marketing, we have seen a higher volume of roles from key clients. With a significantly improved economy, power has shifted and the market is now very much candidate led.
As a result of this changing dynamic, top candidates are starting to be held in far higher regard both internally and externally and can afford to command a premium. Companies are not letting their top talent walk out without putting up a fight to keep them, so we’re seeing more counter offers, or buy backs, as companies try to persuade candidates who have just resigned to stay. A lot of candidates are asking us how to deal with counter offers and what to think about when you are making your decision to stay or go after a counter offer.

Your current employer benefits

Employers often turn to the counter offer as a last ditch effort to keep people. It’s often a knee-jerk reaction because they are worried about losing a valuable asset to their company and they feel that offering an employee more money, a promotion or the chance to grow a team will persuade them to stay.
The question we encourage candidates to think about is: Why am I just now finding out my true value to the company? If your employer saw you as a valuable asset, they should have made this offer before you were out the door. Employers really don’t want to lose their brightest and most talented employees. It is costly and time-consuming to find a new person to fill their shoes.

Two common methods managers might try to get you to accept a counter offer are:

1. Money
The first thing your employer might attempt to do is offer you more money. Although this may be tempting at the time, it’s worth thinking that your employer may be only trying to prolong the search for your replacement. We have seen countless situations where candidates accept a counter offer only to be shown the door a few months afterwards. Don’t risk losing your current job and the job you initially accepted.
2. Manipulation
Some companies may appeal to your sense of guilt, loyalty, ego - or all three. When this happens, try not to allow them to control you. Approach each objection as carefully and analytically as possible, trying your best to leave emotion out of it.

Weigh up the pros and cons

Think about the new company you’re turning down. If you were interested in their offer, there must have been some benefit they had that your current employer didn’t. Is it really worth foregoing new and rewarding career opportunities for a little extra cash and/or responsibility with a company you don’t completely enjoy?
Weigh up the pros and cons of each company, their offers and room for career advancement. You may find your current company’s counter offer is the missing puzzle piece you’ve been searching for. But remember, more than 80% of employees who decide to accept a counter offer are no longer with the company six months later.
Counter offers are tricky. While there are exceptions, it’s not a risk you should take unless you’ve completely thought it through..
For more advice contact your local Michael Page Marketing Office here.