Why are women in real estate more enticed by counter offers?

The Rise of the Counter Offer

Most businesses want to attract female and diverse talent at leadership level. But are they doing enough to nurture and retain senior women?

Often, it’s only when a senior woman resigns that you see organisations jump into action and so everything to persuade them to stay.

The LSE and Mastercard Inclusion Initiative[1], which interviewed black women in finance, professional services, and technology, discovered organisations are increasingly using counter offers to retain talent. 14 of the 32 women who resigned from their roles were presented with monetary offers to stay.

Are Women More Loyal to Organisations?

We concur: Every single senior female candidate we placed has then received a counter offer from their existing employer. Significantly, female candidates themselves are more likely to entertain a responding pay rise. They often have a strong sense of loyalty and integrity, which causes them to give their current organisation a second chance.

Organisations must better nurture current and future female leaders to achieve gender balance in the boardroom. Current employers must focus on supporting and developing them and, if they’re not, women shouldn’t turn down promising opportunities to stay. Sadly, this isn’t always the case. We have seen some extremely talented candidates decline career-changing job offers.

Counter Offers Don’t Always Work

Our experience is that senior talent leaves an organisation because of corporate culture, not feeling valued, or not being given the right opportunities; it’s rarely down to salary alone. Offering a financial reward to stay seldom addresses the underlying issues. 80% of candidates who accept a counter offer from their current employer end up leaving within six months anyway (Phaidon International Research).

What we’re beginning to see is a divide in the way that senior women are recruited versus the way they are promoted and rewarded, all within the same organisation.

Female and D&I Talent in Real Estate

Demand for female and D&I talent remains high, even more so at senior levels. Real estate firms recruiting for positions are increasingly demanding diverse shortlists, so we will see more competition to recruit and retain female talent. Counter offers for women will become more prevalent as approaches from competitors rise.

We have a perfect storm brewing: a cohort of senior, valuable female talent that has been overlooked within an industry where there is now tremendous demand for them.


[1] ‘Transparent: Creating Organisations Inclusive of Black Women in Finance, Professional Services and Big Technology.’

To coincide with National Inclusion Week, Madison Lincoln’s Alex Hendry spoke to Property Week about why women in real estate are more susceptible to counter offers. 

Read the article here.

If you want to better nurture female leaders and achieve gender balance in your boardroom, get in touch to discuss how we can help you shape a DEI recruitment and retention strategy.

Alex joined Madison Lincoln in 2022. Her extensive Real Estate recruitment experience means she has a deep understanding of the organisations and roles within our industry, enabling her to better advise our clients on shortlists, job specifications and the interview process.

How did you get into real estate executive search?

After graduating with a degree in French and Business, I took an internship in New York. After a year, I came back to London to join Foxtons in Mayfair, where I caught the real estate bug!  Although I didn’t want to pursue a career in estate agency, I was keen to explore opportunities in real estate recruitment. I spent 10 years at a recruitment consultancy, where I headed up the town planning division before moving into general practice.

What challenges have you faced in your career so far?

Juggling a career and having three very young children was tough. For me personally, a short career break allowed me to have some much-needed balance. During this time, I retrained as a personal trainer and sports massage therapist. This gave me the flexibility to work but also be available for my family.

For many women, their career (which may span 50 years) doesn’t need to be a linear line. However, I do see many talented women, often in their thirties, leaving the real estate industry.

How can we better support senior women in real estate?

Many of us, not just mothers, have other responsibilities outside of work. Women often bear a disproportionate share of household duties and other obligations, creating a much larger mental load.

The workplace environment and recruitment processes tend to be skewed towards men. The real estate industry is committed to recruiting more senior women, yet not enough firms are making the fundamental changes required to attract female talent.

More challenges are going to come back for women as the post-covid workplace necessitates people in the office more. Some companies are navigating this issue very well for all employees, whilst the larger firms tend to adopt a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Flexibility is still of central importance to many women of all levels in the industry.

Which skills have been most valuable in your career?

As well as an innate understanding and passion for the real estate industry, I would say that it’s the softer skills that enable me to effectively connect with the candidates that our clients want to attract. Honesty and integrity throughout are key to not mis-selling or misleading at any point in the process for both sides. This allows me to build long-term relationships with our clients and to create a constructive and fulfilling process for candidates.

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