in Careers Advice, Employers, Interviews, Job Applications

Matching Current Salary with a Job Offer – a good idea?

Making a Job Offer and matching current salary – a good idea?
A candidate looks to make a move and we send them over details of vacancies. The candidate applies for a vacancy and we send a CV across to a firm, indicating current salary levels. We go through the recruitment process – interview, discussions, 2nd interview and deliberations. The firm like the candidate, the candidate likes the firm.

The firm makes the candidate an offer as follows: “we are very happy with Steve – he fits the bill perfectly. We can see a great future for him here. As such we can confirm that we would be delighted to match his current salary and make him an offer. Hope to hear from you soon.”


As recruiters this leaves us with a sense of foreboding. The candidate is either going to have a range of reasons for accepting the offer and make the move or they are going to be very annoyed with us.

Most candidates will be annoyed. After all, why would you leave a job to move to another post if it is wasn’t for a pay rise of some sort?

I can almost hear the reader thinking – yes but there is more than one reason for making a move. Why can’t the candidate accept the post and move because they a) like the firm, b) find the commute much better, c) like the work, d) want to get out of their existing firm they will accept anything or e) realise they are about to be sacked or made redundant and jump at the chance to work elsewhere?

All very true. I agree absolutely. There is every reason for a candidate to leave an existing role and take a new post without needing to worry about the salary.

Unfortunately the reality is that good stable candidates who are seeking a move for genuine reasons will almost always want some recognition of their worth to the new firm and aim for a salary increase. This is the case even if there are other compelling reasons for moving. After all this is one of the only times in a professional career when it is fairly easy to get a salary increase without too many awkward negotiations – your agent can do it for you.

I would estimate that out of 10 job offers made at the existing level of salary for a candidate, 8 will be rejected. One will be accepted because the candidate prefers the geographical location and the other because the candidate is desperate to get out of their existing firm. All the others will walk away.

Even if the firm then offer more money to seek to redress the situation it will leave an indelible mark on their relationship with the new member of staff.

The easiest way round it is to offer a basic salary at a slightly higher level but leave the option open for a quick pay review and also an achievable bonus target and structure. Alternatively think about benefits – pension contributions or annual leave can be cheap ways to get reduce the cost of higher salaries.

Jonathan Fagan is MD of Ten Percent Legal Recruitment – you can contact him at

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 20 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at You can contact Jonathan at