Should a counter offer influence your career path?

Should a counter offer influence your career path?

Sarah Reid

In today's environment, tax is at the forefront of people’s minds, making the profession busier than ever. However, the tax industry is facing a problem; a shortage of quality tax advisors to deliver on this demand. This has resulted in fierce competition amongst employers to hire the best talent and retain their existing talent pool to help in the success of their business. With this increase in desire to retain good talent, when candidates do resign, counter offers are becoming more attractive than ever before, holding heavy powers of persuasion, causing candidates to reconsider their reasons for leaving.

It can therefore be difficult for those who are actively seeking a new role to know if the new role they have successfully fought for is worth moving to. I’ve seen counter offers at all levels from Newly Qualified all the way through to partner level and I see first-hand the predicament and stress it can cause candidates.

You may have heard the phrase that finding a job is a job in itself, so what happens when you commit to a search, you find your dream job, but you’ve (unexpectedly) been counter offered presenting you with a dilemma which makes you question your decisions to leave, question whether you should stay and ultimately you question what you should do.

Why am I being counter offered?

  • It’s no wonder that counter offers (or buy backs as they can be referred to) are becoming harder to turn down as sometimes they can deliver the promise of more money, more autonomy, a new portfolio and a new challenge. Everything you (think) you want?

  • You are an asset to the firm and you’re difficult to replace, so why are these promises being delivered when you are leaving? Why has your career not been enhanced when you are loyal to the firm, opposed to when you have decided to leave?

  • In some cases, a counter offer is a genuine plea for someone to stay, and it can work out for the best, with you and your employer living happily ever after!

  • In some cases the harsh reality is that it’s for convenience. The hassle of finding a replacement, training them and embedding in the firm can be very inconvenient for employers and so they will do what they can to keep you.

What should you do?

  • Once you have the counter offer, do give your employer the respect they deserve and listen to what they have to offer

  • Assess the counter offer vs new role and see which suit your motivations and career aspirations

  • Communicate with your potential new employer and tell them the situation

  • Speak to someone you trust or a third party to gain their perspective

  • Do not stay for comfort!

Why did you start looking?

  • Ask yourself this question; what prompted you to start your job search, what are your reasons for leaving?

  • At the beginning of your search, understand your objectives, reasons for looking and write them down. And remind yourself of these throughout the process.

  • These reasons should be at the forefront of your mind when you resign – they are after all what led you to put in the effort to find your next career move

  • Counter offers are flattering, there is no denying it –but irrespective of the motivations of your employer wanting you to stay, remember your reasons for leaving!