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Are We Moving Away From The Counter-Offer Culture?

Are We Moving Away From The Counter-Offer Culture?

June 6, 2021

Until recently, the job market was largely a candidate-led one in sectors where there was a lack of top-tier talent. Counter-offers had become increasingly common as the most skilled and experienced candidates could essentially name their price when entering the process of recruitment.


It’s easy to see, then, why the counter-offer culture came into being, as organisations strove to retain their existing talent who were increasingly being drawn elsewhere to more competitive roles. The situation was only compounded by the fact that unemployment had reached an all-time low, leading to a recruitment market which was dominated by candidates. However, the arrival of Covid-19 has brought about significant changes, and a major shift in the market is already upon us.


The coronavirus pandemic has brought about some serious economic uncertainty, and although the way out is becoming clearer, that uncertainty is still prevalent. This has led to fluctuations in the recruitment market, with the most obvious difference being the shift from a candidate-driven system to a far more client-driven one.


This, in turn, is likely to lead to a significant reduction in the old-style counter-offer culture as more candidates become available to combat the existing skill shortages in the job market and to widen the talent pool that employers can select from.


Covid-19 And The Changes It Has Brought

Covid-19’s global pandemic has brought about a host of changes in all aspects of life, but nowhere has it caused more upheaval than in the world of employment. Fast-moving and ever-evolving, the virus has plunged companies all over the world into a situation that they were, unfortunately, unprepared for, and the impact has been felt across businesses worldwide.


Over the past year, there have been a wealth of different variables to take into account, not to mention the need to support and retain existing staff members, and that has led to recruitment ultimately being cancelled or, at the very least, placed on hiatus.


A survey by the REC found the both permanent and temporary jobs fell at the steepest rate seen since 2009 with firms cancelling or postponing their plans to recruit new staff members. As Covid-19 has had a knock-on effect of disruption to world economies, it isn’t too surprising that the recruitment market has borne the brunt of the impact; pay increases slowing down, the number of available opportunities decreasing exponentially, and the amount of competition for each post becoming tougher than ever.


Of course, it can only be hoped that the initial impacts will be only disruptions in the short-term, but if longer-term depression of the economy is to be prevented, maintaining employment levels must be made a priority.


What Is The Counter-Offer Culture?

Simply put, if there are more vacant positions available at an organisation than the number of candidates who are applying for them, there is an amplification of the counter-offer culture. A candidate-driven market requires recruiters to work harder to attract and secure the top talent for their vacancies, while companies must fight to keep hold of the staff that they already have on board, often by any means available, hence the arrival of the counter-offer culture – where candidates can virtually name their requirements and have them met.


What Is The Any Offer Culture?

If the ratio has flipped and there are less positions available than the number of applicants who come forward, there is no longer any need for a counter-offer culture to exist. The culture, in such cases, will turn into an any offer one.


Candidates find themselves in a highly competitive market with each job opportunity being more highly sought after. The number of applications received for each vacant position rise, with more skilled and talented employees in the available talent pool, and tis means that the competition for each role increases substantially.


Recruiters must now spend their time on sifting through the many CVs, replying to each application, and screening more calls to make sure that every response is effectively filtered to avoid accidentally missing out on a perfect hire. When this situation occurs, the market is a client-driven one, with companies themselves being able to state their offer with no fears about having to compromise.


Why Is This Occurring?

Essentially, the counter-offer culture is driven by the level of competition between positions that is available to applicants. If there are more vacancies available than the number of candidates making an application, then it stands to reason that the culture of counter-offers becomes more dominant. But if more candidates are making applications that the number of positions available, then the situation is reversed – rather than being a counter-offer culture, the culture changes to an any offer one.


Are There Challenges To Face in The Any Offer Culture?

Although organisations can benefit hugely from an any offer culture, it couldn’t be more important to focus on the response they make to each candidate. If companies are socially outed for handling candidates poorly through the process it can be extremely damaging for their brand.


Also, while having a market that is client-driven means companies have it within their power to pick and choose from the most talented and fitting candidates, unfortunately the downside of this is that they must spend a lot more time on going through applications and responding to them. In essence, the workload has merely shifted its attention to a different focus. For this reason, it makes sense to use a recruitment company as a way of cherry picking the most suitable and skilled candidates within such a crowded marketplace.


With each job advert receiving a much greater response, most companies lack the time to filter through them all, and who wants to risk the damage to their brand if they fail to reply appropriately, or indeed, at all?


The move away from a counter offer culture, the reduction of existing skill shortages and the change in recruitment’s driving force as well as all the technological adaptations that are needed to function effectively in the new normal are all affecting the recruitment industry. These are set to continue impacting it for some time to come, however using a recruitment company to handle the applications situation in this new normal could be the best solution for companies that are keen to maintain their positive reputation whilst also trying to secure the very best talent for their vacancies.

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