Congratulations, you’ve been offered a new job! Now comes the dilemma. If you’re a valuable employee (which, of course, you are), then your current employer will look to keep hold of you.
The problem with this situation, however, is that by broaching the subject of your departure you have, in the words of one careers coach, “marked your card”. Hiring new staff is expensive, so is filling the void left by a productive employee, so many banks offer short-term incentives to encourage you to stick around before managing you out of the organisation longer term.
In accepting an offer to stay with your current employer, it’s therefore wise to make sure that your employer is serious about keeping you, rather than simply keeping you there until they can find an alternative.
Recruiters, understandably, advise against accepting a counter-offer, which undoes all their hard work finding the right candidate and, they say, invariably don’t work out. However, venturing out into the job market is a method of evaluating what you’re worth, and this means bargaining power and, eventually, more money across the sector.
“What we're seeing happening in practice is when an employee offers their resignation, the employer matches the offer, on average about 10% higher than the original salary. The new company then offers another 10% on top of that,” says Russell Hughes, senior manager at Robert Half Financial Services. “The candidate accepts the new company's offer, thus pushing up salaries across the sector. The old company now has to raise its compensation for that same role in order to attract the right skilled individual.”
Linda Jackson, managing director of career consultancy 10 Eighty, says that switching jobs invariably means learning that you’re underpaid: “I’ve encountered people who have stayed with the same firm and are £20k behind their peers who have switched jobs every five years or so.”
One of the worst things you can accept is more responsibility with a promise of a promotion down the line. In a world of doing more with less, financial services organisations are more than happy to stretch the resources they have. Firming up a promotion, even if it doesn’t come with a commensurate uplift in pay, is the most convincing argument for sticking around. And, staying with your current employer is the most likely method of securing a promotion now, says Jackson.
“If you go through a recruiter, one assumes that by having 80% of the requirements, the new employer will consider you and offer development for the remaining 20%,” she says. “In reality, they want an exact fit, which makes it very difficult to secure a promotion by switching companies. You could do the same job for more money in a new role, but your old company is more likely know your capabilities and offer promotion opportunities.”
If you feel like you’re treading water in your current role and have been offered few training and development opportunities, it’s a frustrating experience. Particularly as, according to Andrew Pullman, founder of consultancy People Risk Solutions and a former head of HR at Dresdner Bank, this is something more investment banks are investing in. When discussing this option as part of your negotiations on staying in the same firm, be specific.
“You can’t simply sit down and rant about the lack of development opportunities,” he says. “Be specific on what training you need and how it will make you a better employee. Get it in writing that this will happen within a particular timeframe – one of the main reasons people get dissatisfied is broken promises from vague conversations.”