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Average counter-offer well below accountants expectations

Average counter-offer well below accountants’ expectations

20% pay hike needed to tempt accountants to stay after resignation

But, average counter-offer now just 15% of annual salary

Number of counter-offers doubles in the last year

Money not the main motivator for resigning accountants

Employers need to offer pay-rises of 20% if they are to tempt resigning accountants to stay in their job according to Marks Sattin, the specialist accountancy and finance recruiter.

The poll of 540 UK accountants, revealed that one in every four accountants feel no pay-rise of any size would tempt them to stay, while one in ten said it would take a rise of 50% or more to keep them from accepting a new job offer.

Money, however, does not appear to be the most important factor when accountants are considering a job move. A little over a quarter of accountants (28%) decide to move roles purely for financial reasons with the vast majority specifying a more interesting role (37%) and seeking greater challenges (29%) as the key motivators for moving on.

In separate research, Marks Sattin found that a quarter of accountants who have resigned this year have been counter-offered, a rise from fewer than one in eight in 2011. On average accountants are being offered 15% of base salary to stay. While this is a significant rise from the 5% being offered in 2009, it’s just 75% of the amount accountants say would tempt them to remain with their current employer.

With the average salary of a senior qualified accountant[*] standing at &pound60,000 per annum, the average counter-offer stands at &pound9,000 - &pound3,000 less than the amount accountants feel would be appropriate.

Dave Way, Managing Director of Marks Sattin said,

“Companies often feel salary hikes are the best way to convince senior staff to stay once they’ve resigned. They are a quick and easy demonstration of the value they place on retaining their staff, albeit an expensive one. Junior members of staff are the most likely to be swayed by a counter-offer, the money and feeling of being wanted is often very powerful. For more senior staff a counter-offer would need to be significantly large but won’t address the main reasons senior people seek a new role elsewhere - a desire for career development or more challenging work. These are much harder concerns to tackle.”

A third of all accountants said they would only consider a 15% salary rise suitable when considering an external move. They would need substantially more than 15% to consider staying at their current firm and miss out on the career development and greater experience a new role offered.

Dave Wayadded,

“Money isn’t the be all and end all for the majority of accountants that we speak to, so wage hikes are rarely a long term solution. By the time people have decided to move, applied for jobs, interviewed, accepted a role and resigned, they’ve made a huge mental shift and are already imagining their future at another business. Offering more money simply papers over the cracks.

“Using counter-offers as a retention tool can also be destabilising for a workforce as a whole. It can be disastrous if individuals know they can increase their chances of a pay-rise by threatening to leave. But the accountancy industry is smarter than most when it comes to staff retention. While 25% of accountants were offered counter-offers this year, across the wider market, 28% of companies use pay-rises as a key method of retention.”

The percentage of companies citing pay-rises as a key method of staff retention has risen over the past year according to the CIPD[&dagger] up one point from 27% in 2011 to 28% in 2012. While this is still a long way short of 2008 levels, when more than half were offering pay rises, it represents a steady rise from the 22% low in 2010.

The most popular measures firms say they are taking to address staff retention are increased learning and development opportunities (47%), improved management people skills (46%) and an improved induction process (43%).

Dave Waycomments,

“Companies are taking the right steps but offering development opportunities is easier said than done. Often, the scope of career development that firms can offer existing employees is constrained by the clients they have and the areas they specialise in. While they are making every effort to hold on to talented staff, in many cases, staff turnover is a fact of life.”

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