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Advice to candidates and clients on managing job offers.

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Hey! I’m WRS’ Technology Divisional Manager – Zain Hussain – In this blog I discuss the busy tech market in Singapore and the challenge that can sometimes present for us, our clients and our candidates.

Ask business leaders where to source the best tech talent and you’re likely to hear Singapore as the answer. The island city-state has emerged as a prosperous technology hub in the heart of Southeast Asia, sometimes called the ‘miniature Silicon Valley’. Today, 80 of the top 100 tech firms in the world have a presence in Singapore, reinforcing its status as a major East-West trading centre and the gateway to the lucrative Asian marketplace. With all of these businesses in a relatively small area, the war for talent is fierce.

I joined WRS in 2019 and together we added the technology division to our portfolio of services. Since then, it has been growing alongside the technology industry in Asia and specifically Singapore. Managing six consultants specialising in various areas of the tech space, I support and guide the team to create successful partnerships with some of the most exciting tech start-ups as well as more mature tech companies in the area.

It’s a thriving market with a huge range of options for candidates wanting to climb the career ladder in technology. This is great for recruitment companies like WRS as it means we can provide our clients with knowledgeable, skilled candidates. However, the abundance of options for candidates in the market can sometimes create a major headache – namely, the dreaded counteroffer.

Working with a candidate to help them secure a new job is fraught with challenges. At WRS, our recruiters take the time to understand a client’s requirements for their team. We are thorough and careful in seeking out a candidate suitable for the opportunity, then we work with both the client and the candidate to guide them through the recruitment process. An unexpected and unwelcome disruption on this journey can come in the form of a counteroffer. This is recruitment jargon – so to clarify, a counteroffer is an offer of a job from another business, not the client we have worked so closely with up until now. Usually, this business knows the salary package on the table already, and will go in higher to tempt the candidate. A counteroffer can also come from the company the candidate currently works with, who will be hesitant to lose one of their employees to a competitor. Again, they will often promise a salary increase to counter the offer on the table from the other company.

Last month our Logistics and Freight Forwarding specialist recruiter, Dilla Saini, added a poll to LinkedIn on the subject of counter offers. The results were unsurprising, with 74% of people stating they would not accept a counteroffer from their current employer to stay put. Despite this, we know from experience that candidates do accept counteroffers regularly. In fact, some people pro-actively engineer a counteroffer situation by sharing the financial details of their job offers with other recruitment agencies and companies.

It’s time to be honest about counteroffers. Candidates – you must remember that most employers don’t want the hassle or the cost of finding a replacement. Keeping an existing employee is easier than finding a new one. Plus, if you’re leaving to work with a competitor, there’s a fear you might take clients with you. It’s all about convenience.

It’s unfortunate that many employers are only moved to action when you hand your notice in, rather than being proactive in supporting your development and progression before it gets to the point that you want to leave. Whilst a counteroffer might make you feel valued, in truth, it is simply the most efficient solution from your boss and tends to provide a plaster on the wound rather than a genuine cure.

A large proportion of counteroffers are accepted but, if you decide to stay put, job satisfaction is usually short lived. It’s likely that you’ll quickly realise nothing has changed, apart from a little bit of extra money in your pay packet each month. Many candidates who accept a counteroffer still choose to move on in the following 12 months.

And now to our clients who are battling with counteroffers and finding it challenging to get a candidate across the line. It’s frustrating when you spend the time and effort working with a recruitment agency to find that much needed person to join your business, only for it to fall through at the end. If you know you’re not in the strongest financial position and may struggle to compete on salaries, think about the things you can do to sell your business to candidates. What makes you unique? How can you define the culture of your business? What do you current employees like about working for you? There will be plenty of other benefits aside from salary that you can shout about, so be clear in your own mind on what you can offer and then find a trusted recruitment partner to represent your business in the market.

If you have accepted a counteroffer and find it hasn’t brought you the satisfaction you were looking for, or you’re a leader looking to add to your team, get in touch with us at WRS. We cover every area of the tech space and are sure to be able to assist you.