Fifty-six per cent of Hong Kong workers have at some point in their career rejected a counter offer from their employer to make them stay, according to recruiting experts Hays.
Counter offers come in many forms such as an increase in salary, additional company benefits, a sought-after promotion or new job title, additional responsibility, a change in role or more involvement in projects in the hope the employee can be convinced to stay.
In a poll of nearly 300 people, 29 per cent said they accepted a counter offer and ended up staying with their employer for longer than 12 months.
Fifteen per cent of respondents said that while they accepted a counter offer to stay with their employer at the time, they ended up leaving the organization less than 12 months after that.
With a larger number rejecting counter offers than accepting, it highlights that added incentives rarely counter the reasons that led someone to look for, apply, interview and then accept a new job that they have been offered.
“People reject counter offers because in most cases it’s too late,” says Dean Stallard, Regional Director of Hays in Hong Kong. “Whether it’s because they want to take the next step in their career or they want to broaden their professional horizons, chances are they made their mind up when they applied for that other job. It could also be that they wish to change industries or simply because they are currently unhappy in their present role.”
It’s not just in Hong Kong where workers are inclined to reject a counter offer. A similar study conducted by Hays across Asia found that 61 per cent in Japan, 45 per cent in China, 61 per cent in Singapore and 63 per cent in Malaysia said thanks but no thanks to the counter offer they received.
Dean notes that before considering presenting a counter offer, employers should be wary that once an employee has announced their intention to leave, their long-term loyalty can come into question.
“They’ve made it clear that their career prospects are better served elsewhere. If news of their desire to switch jobs became open knowledge within the workplace, colleagues will be forever skeptical as to whether their heart is really in the job and certainly the harmony of the team could be in jeopardy.
“If you are the one being presented with the counter offer, making a decision should start with putting yourself first. You should not concern yourself with feelings of guilt or loyalty.
“Once you have removed emotion from the decision-making process, you should assess with a clear mind whether the counter offer meets the concerns you had of the fulfillment you sought when you first decided to leave the job,” said Dean.