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the counter-offer

The Counter-offer - Fork In The Road

Over the past year, we at Kelly Executive noticed a recurring theme when dealing with candidates and counselling them through their new job offers. The counter-offer, which has always been prevalent in the Banking & Financial Services market, has become an even more important weapon in domestic and international banks’ arsenal as competition for top talent increases.

In days gone by, a counter-offer consisted of an employer verbally stating “We’ll match whatever they are offering”, now current employers are going over and above what the rival company is offering in terms of remuneration or increased responsibility.

The most compelling change around the counter-offer we have noticed is the incumbent employer taking aggressive action to retain their staff by putting this commitment into writing within 24 hours.

The turnaround time for a formal counter-offer is increasingly important as the urgency shown displays a true commitment from the current employer and the candidate in turn feels valued by their organisation. This may give the candidate the confidence to turn down the new job offer knowing they have secured a similar or more attractive offer at their current organization in writing.

This is a critical phase in the process for hiring managers and candidates alike.

I share my advice for hiring managers on how they can counteract a counter-offer on this video:

If you find yourself in a situation where a counter-offer is being considered, whether you are a candidate or hiring manager, there are three key questions you need to ask yourself:


  1. What were the reasons I started to consider other roles in the market?
  2. Will the counter-offer address these reasons?
  3. Now that my company knows I have looked at other roles in the market, will they fully support my career development if I stay?

If you can answer those questions frankly, you should know whether it is worth the risk to stay with the status quo, or take a chance on a new challenge.


  1. Will the total cost of replacing the candidate (including time to fill, training and additional workload for other staff members) be less than the increase in salary to match the counter-offer?
  2. Will you be able place full trust in the candidate if they seriously considered accepting the counter-offer?
  3. Is the candidate worth retaining?

Taking on a new employee is always a gamble but the trust you have in your recruiter to manage a counter-offer situation and your honest responses to the questions above will go a long way to ensuring your next action is the right one.

Head Shot Liam ParkerAuthor: Liam Parker is a Principal Consultant at Kelly Executive.


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