Can Counteroffers Help Employers Retain Hard-to-Replace Creative Talent?

Has your employer ever offered you a counter-offer after you have announced plans to accept a job elsewhere? If you accepted it, how did things work out?

According to new survey of advertising and marketing executives conducted for The Creative Group, counteroffers are becoming more common. But they can be a double-edged sword.

Twenty percent of advertising and marketing executives surveyed said the number of counteroffers extended by their company has increased in the last six months. (Only 5 percent said the number had declined.) Thirty-nine percent of executives said the main reason to issue a counteroffer is to avoid losing an employee with hard-to-find skills.

More than two-thirds (67 percent) of respondents who have extended a counteroffer said it is somewhat or very common for employees to accept the bid. But an employer’s problems may not be solved: 28 percent of executives said they would question the loyalty of an employee who accepted a counteroffer; another 21 percent said they worry the offer might not address the issues prompting the staff member to leave.

“Many companies are willing to pull out all the stops to retain their best people in this talent-short market, but counteroffers are often counterproductive,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group. “They tend to be more of a Band-Aid than a cure — the employee may feel valued in the short term, but the issues that initially prompted the person to consider leaving usually crop up again.”


The Creative Group advises employers to consider five key questions before extending a counteroffer:

Will it address the real issue? A bigger salary or better job title may not significantly improve an employee’s long-term job satisfaction.

Is it a knee-jerk reaction? Are you asking the employee to stay because of the value he or she brings to the role or so your team won’t be left in the lurch?

Will it set an undesirable precedent? Make a counteroffer today, and you can be sure other departing employees will expect similar treatment in the future.

Will my payscale remain intact? Compensation among employees should be equitable, so if one employee gets a significant raise because of another job offer, it may upset the balance of your compensation program.

What impact will it have on the team? What you gain by attempting to appease one employee may cause resentment and low morale among the rest of your team.

About the Survey

The national study was developed by The Creative Group and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on 400 telephone interviews — 200 with marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees and 200 with advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees.

About The Creative Group

The Creative Group (TCG) specializes in placing a range of highly skilled interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations professionals with a variety of firms on a project and full-time basis.


The Creative Group



Salary Guides Identify Hot Jobs for Creative and IT Professionals

TCG-Salary-Barista-Cover2Creative professionals who can help companies keep pace with technology can earn heftier paychecks, according to the recently released 2014 Salary Guides from Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group.

Employers are prepared to offer increased compensation this year to skilled information technology (IT) and digital professionals who can help organizations meet the following objectives:

  • seize new opportunities in mobile communications
  • keep information and networks secure
  • turn data into business intelligence.

“It’s becoming imperative for companies to build their online presence and connect with customers through mobile channels but finding the specialized talent to design and develop for this fast-evolving space can be difficult,” said John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group. ”Similar recruiting challenges exist around business intelligence. Companies want to use their information more strategically, but they struggle to find skilled professionals who can analyze raw data.”

Listed below are six roles that are among those expected to see the most substantial increases in average starting compensation in 2014, according to the Robert Half Salary Guides. (The salaries listed are U.S. national averages based on data published in the 2014 Salary Guides from Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group. Actual salary ranges may vary depending on location.)

1. Mobile applications developer: As companies expand their mobile initiatives to connect with consumers anytime,anywhere, they need professionals who can develop for smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. Experienced mobile applications developers can expect to see the largest increase (7.8 percent) in starting compensation of any tech position listed in this year’s Salary Guide, with salaries ranging from $100,000 to $144,000.

2. Business intelligence analyst: Organizations of all types want to derive more value from the data they generate, collect and store by turning it into actionable intelligence. Skilled business intelligence analysts can anticipate a 7.4 percent boost in starting compensation in 2014, with salaries ranging from $101,250 to $142,250.

3. Information systems security manager: Keeping data secure and protecting users and the network from cyber threats is a priority for any modern business. Information systems security managers who can assess and remediate vulnerabilities, threats and intrusions are in demand, and are projected to see a 6.8 percent bump in base compensation this year, with average starting salaries between $115,250 and $160,000.

4. User experience designer: Designing engaging user experiences is essential to the success of any mobile or web initiative — and requires specialized talent. User experience designers can expect to see average starting salaries between $78,000 and $120,000, up 7.5 percent from 2013.

5. Mobile designer: Compelling content and functionality are vital to delivering a satisfying interactive mobile experience. Skilled mobile designers can anticipate average starting salaries to increase 6.3 percent in 2014, to the range of $66,000 to $103,000.

6. User experience specialist: Developing innovative, interactive user experiences for web and mobile applications requires creativity and technical expertise. User experience specialists can expect to receive base compensation in the range of $79,000 to $118,000, a gain of 5.9 percent over last year.

More information about the positions listed above can be found in the Robert Half Technology 2014 Salary Guide, which includes a wide range of IT job descriptions, and The Creative Group 2014 Salary Guide, which focuses on interactive, design and marketing jobs.

Both Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group are divisions of Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm and a recognized leader in professional staffing services.


The Creative Group 2014 Salary Guide

The Creative Group

Robert Half Technology 2014 Salary Guide

Robert Half Technology

Author Todd Henry Encourages Creatives to ‘Die Empty’

ToddHenryDieEmptyIf you have gone back to work after the New Year feeling unsettled about the daily grind, you’re not alone. Many creative pros know deep down that they are capable of contributing much more to the world than the mundane tasks that seem to fill their work days. If you have given up trying to do the type of excellent work you know you have in you, then perhaps you should check out Todd Henry’s inspiring new book.

In “Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day,” Henry suggests ways to cultivate a mindset and methods that will help you increase the odds that at the end of your life, you won’t regret how you spent your days.

“The marketplace is filled with (often simplistic and unhelpful) platitudes about living a life of fulfillment, landing your dream job, and discovering your purpose, but when you are in the midst of the fray, it can feel futile to think about anything other than hitting your deadlines and chasing the next promotion,” writes Henry.

The title “Die Empty” refers to the goal of completing your best work before you die. Henry says that if he doesn’t wake up tomorrow, he wants to know that “I have emptied myself of whatever creativity is lingering inside,with minimal regrets about how I spent my focus, time and energy.”  He acknowledges that the “Die Empty” title isn’t exactly a feel-good slogan, but says it challenges readers to approach their work with greater urgency.

Henry believes each of us has a one-of-kind combination of passions, skills, and experiences that we can contribute to make meaningful change. But as he travels across the country giving motivational speeches at corporate events, he meets people every day who have abandoned their contribution and forfeited their best work: “They’re stuck or deceived into believing that the path they are one will eventually become more bearable.”

While unleashing your best work requires sustained effort, Henry says the term “Die Empty” doesn’t mean getting everything done today, following your whims, or living like there’s no tomorrow. Rather, it’s about embracing work with the mindset that will help you make steady progress every day on the projects that matter to you most. It’s about aligning your work around your values, devoting yourself to developing your skills and intuition, and not allowing comfort, fear, familiarity, and ego to keep you from acting on your ambitions. 

The book is divided into three sections. The first three chapters discuss why work matters and why so many people end up settling for less than what they are capable of. The next seven chapters share methods and principles for achieving your best work. The final two chapters offer strategies for adopting the principles in your daily life. 

To get a better sense of what’s covered in the book, you can download a sample of the book from Amazon. Or, you can watch this 49-minute “Creative Mornings” presentation that Henry gave in Cincinnati. (It’s an uplifting way to start the New Year!)

Todd Henry is also the author of “The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice.” He promotes his company, Accidental Creative, as “an arms dealer for the creative revolution.”  The firm’s mission is to teach people and teams to be prolific, brilliant, and healthy. Henry regularly speaks and consults with companies about how to develop practices and systems that lead to everyday brilliance.


Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day

The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice

About Todd Henry  

Why Small Businesses Can Give Graphic and Web Designers a Jumpstart to Success

Guest post by Owen Oliver

JumpStartGraphic and web design is an art as well as a job. Unfortunately, like most artists, designers tend to go long periods of time without consistent work. At the beginning of their careers they may struggle just to find any reliable work. The good news for designers is that as more business is done over the internet, the demand for designers is only projected to increase over the next decade.

Nonetheless, as an artist with a smaller portfolio in a competitive job market it can be tough to find that first big break. The key for young designers today is to find businesses that are still just a planted seed. Going to work for smaller businesses may not pay as much right out of the gate but the fact is if you join them early enough, their growth as a business will parallel the growth of your portfolio.

Any business owner will tell you that good marketing is essential in the early stages of building a business. There is not a more versatile and effective form of marketing than a well-constructed website. The trouble is many business owners lack the web skills or Adobe Training  to set up a marketable website. It is for this reason that a young designer and a small business owner are match made in start-up heaven. They are both trying to develop themselves as professionals and have the ability to make the other grow. In this sink-or-swim economy neither party is going to prosper if the business relationship does not produce results.

Many young designers make the mistake of trying to find a business within the city that is constantly near a large population and may stand a better chance of taking off. The problem with this approach is that office space and property within the city is usually more expensive and if a business has set up shop there this means they usually have decent amount of money and they want to be able to market their business more with billboards, flyers, apparel, etc.

Young designers are better off looking for work with smaller establishments in the towns outside major cities because these are usually the ones who are in more dire need of online marketing. Sure it probably won’t pay as much to work for “Uncle Sam’s Private Owned Tire Business” but you as designer will have much more creative freedom and be able to showcase your skills.

Today’s economy is a jungle and if you’re thrown out in the middle of the wild, which do you want to take over first — the biggest apple tree or the small stream of fresh drinkable water? This mindset can help both small business owners and designers. For designers, look for the lesser known brands and newly started up businesses.They are the ones who need help with marketing the most.

For small business owners, be smart with the money you have whether from investors or from an accelerator program. Find a good graphic designer looking to build their portfolio. They will usually be very affordable to hire and will work hard to help you market your brand to the entire world. As a freelance marketing specialist there are few others who depend on the success of the business they work for more than a freelance designer.

Owen Oliver is a designer and marketing writer for American Graphics Institute. When he’s not teaching a Photoshop class or helping someone with Adobe Training he enjoys swimming and watching his Seahawks play. 

Book Offers Excellent Advice for Creating Your Own Job Opportunities

50 Jobs in 50 States CoverAfter failing to get a single job offer after 40+ interviews and following the traditional advice for job-seeking, USC economics grad Daniel Seddiqui figured there had to be a better way. Sure enough—by being creative, resourceful, and determined – he found ways to get 50 jobs, in 50 states, in 50 weeks.

His resume now includes stints as a photographer in Alaska, a hydrologist in Colorado, a rodeo announcer in South Dakota, a coal miner in West Virginia, an Amish woodworker in Pennsylvania, a theme park entertainer in Florida, a cheese maker in Wisconsin, a seafood restaurant cook in Maryland, a model and modeling agent in North Carolina, an Internet marketing specialist in New York, and an auto mechanic in Michigan.

Many creative pros use personal projects to help them land the type of opportunities they want. But if you aren’t convinced it’s possible to create your own career opportunities, read Daniel Seddiqui’s book “50 Jobs in 50 States: One Man’s Journey of Discovery Across America.”

While the book is geared toward college grads who feel uncertain about how to jump-start their careers started, “50 Jobs in 50 States” is a fascinating, inspiring read for anyone who wants to redirect their career in a more satisfying direction. In each chapter, Seddiqui describes the highs and lows of his experience in each state.

In West Virginia, Daniel Seddiqui went into the coal mines for Dynamic Energy.
In West Virginia, Daniel Seddiqui went into the coal mines for Dynamic Energy.

What makes the story so compelling is the raw honesty with which Seddiqui tells it. He talks about the pressure he felt from his parents, the self-doubt created by his inability to get a job right out of college, and some of the 5,000 rejections ( and laughter!) he heard as he tried to convince people to hire him for just a week. When he embarked on his quest, he only had a 10 jobs lined up. But he resolved to do whatever it took to line up the other jobs as he went.

Because he hadn’t been able to get sponsors to help fund his adventure, he had very little money when he set out from his parents home in California.

So sometimes he slept in his car and showered at the local YMCA.  On many weekends, he drove 800 to 1,000 miles to get from one gig to the next. He struggled through exhaustion, difficult working conditions, and illness.

As with any well-written story, this one features a strong and determined protagonist who overcomes a series of conflicts and obstacles to get what he wants. The journey proves to be an eye-opening, life-changing experience – with a happy ending.

By the time he completed his journey, Seddiqui had received offers of full-time jobs from 48 of the employers he had worked. (He also met the woman he would become his wife.)

In a speech Seddiqui presented in Cincinnati, he talked about the five factors that helped him succeed in his quest: adaptability, perseverence, endurance, risk-taking, and networking.  He urged job-seekers not to limit themselves by applying only for jobs in their majors or in fields recommended by friends or family.

At Universal Studios in Orlando, Daniel Seddiqui walked on stilts as an entertainer for the Revenge of the Mummy ride.
At Universal Studios in Orlando, Daniel Seddiqui walked on stilts as an entertainer for the Revenge of the Mummy ride.

Here are four key points that struck me as I read the book, interviewed Seddiqui and watched his speech in Cincinnati:

A college degree doesn’t entitle you to great job.

Although college marketing campaigns might lead you to believe otherwise, a degree is not a golden ticket to secure, well-paying job.  “But if you have faith in yourself and your mission, good things can come your way,” said Seddiqui. He advises students to graduate with a positive attitude and show your willingness to work and be trained.

You don’t need a professional publicist to get national and international press coverage.

When Seddiqui called his local newspaper to tell them about his project, the editors put the story on the front page and it soon hit the news wires.

Media organizations that covered parts of his journey included ABC’s World News Tonight, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, Time, NPR, The Today Show, the Chicago Sun Times, Fox News, and the Los Angeles Times.

Over time, Seddiqui used his ability to attract media coverage to his advantage. In some cities, the prospect of attracting media attention made it easier to persuade targeted employers to hire him for just a week.

Having an open mind is important.

“You won’t realize new opportunities unless you’re adaptable to changing circumstances,” said Seddiqui. Throughout his journey, he experienced different lifestyles, religions, foods, and hobbies He also accepted the living arrangements of the employers or families who hosted him. While working as a park ranger In Wyoming, he lived in a trailer. As golf caddie In South Carolina, he lived in a posh resort on Kiawah Island.

After finishing the 50-week trip, Seddiqui realized he had learned about 50 different ways of life and how much America has to offer. He was amazed to see how much the local environment shape who we are and how we spend our time

Networking is incredibly powerful.

Everywhere he went, Seddiqui met people who were willing to help him achieve his mission. “I quickly learned that if you prove yourself and your capabilities to people, they will remember you and connect you to others.”

In Pennsylvania, Daniel Seddiqui worked as a woodworker for an Amish-owned business Wolf Rock Furniture.
In Pennsylvania, Daniel Seddiqui worked as a woodworker for an Amish-owned business Wolf Rock Furniture.

Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory started following Daniel Seddiqui on Facebook after seeing him featured on the Today Show. They met at en event in Washington, DC, and the Mayor invited Seddiqui to speak at an August 26 forum at Cincinnati’s Museum Center.

What’s Next?

Since publishing the book “50 Jobs in 50 States,” Seddiqui has been “Lecturing the Map,” sharing what he has learned with other young people. (See this speaker promotional video below.) He has also developed a semester-long program to expose college students to a wider range of career possibilities and industries.

For his next book project, Seddiqui has been traveling to some of the struggling or secluded communities throughout the U.S. to get an up-close view of what might be required to initiate social change. He has visited immigrant camps in the San Joachim Valley of California, an Indian reservation in South Dakota, and small towns in the Appalachian Mountains of Eastern Kentucky.

Seddiqui tells college students and recent grads that failing those first 40 job interviews was the best thing that ever happened to him. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have started on his journey and discovered opportunities that better fit his personality.

Most importantly, he learned not to fear failure. Despite all the hardships and setbacks he faced along the way, Seddiqui says, “I was optimistic about the journey and focused on the light at the end of the tunnel,” says Seddiqui. “I learned that each rejection moved me closer to an acceptance.”

In the book, Seddiqui concludes that “Even if people walk away from you, ignore you, tell you no, or shoot your dream down, the power lies within you to create an opportunity for yourself.”


50 Jobs in 50 States: One Man’s Journey of Discovery Across America (BK Life (Paperback))

Website: Living the Map

YouTube: TEDxUSC Talk: 50 Jobs in 50 States by Daniel Seddiqui