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Counter Offers – Factors to Consider Before Accepting

In the current employment market candidates are often presented with the challenging situation of a counteroffer when handing in their resignation. Largely, this is down to skills shortages within the candidate’s/client’s market, and the difficulty/costs associated with trying to replace someone of that calibre.

What does a counteroffer look like?

Financial: The most common feature of a counter offer. Your current company simply offers you more money in the hope they can buy your loyalty and retain you.

Emotional: Employers may pull on the heartstrings and look to appeal to your sense of loyalty. They are likely to reiterate your value, often with the suggestion or promises that conditions are going to improve.

Counter-offers can really make the whole process of handing in your resignation a lot more difficult, as by nature, many people find it difficult to say no. Therefore, a resignation followed by a rejected counter-offer can make it feel like you are kicking someone whilst they are down.

So what should you do?

80% of candidates that accept counteroffers end up looking for new opportunities within 6 months. We would always recommend going back to the beginning – Why did you start looking in the first place? Sticking true to this ensures your decisions are based on the right motivations. For example, if you wanted to leave due to a poor working environment, a promise of more money isn’t going to change that. Therefore, what’s been counter-offered isn’t addressing your actual motivator.

Factors you need to consider upon being given a counteroffer


Employers know that counteroffers provide them with a short-term fix, but ultimately understand that the likelihood is they will lose that employee in the not-so-distant future. What will this mean for any promotions and how they manage your career within the business? Will you be overlooked instead of a colleague whose loyalty has never faltered? Put yourself in their shoes, who would you pick? You may find yourself in a position where you have to prove yourself again.

Where has, the money come from?

If they are offering you more money to stay, the most basic thing to consider is – why has it taken for you to hand in your resignation for them to increase your pay? In most cases, it’s simply cheaper for an organisation to retain an existing employee than it is to recruit a new one, and this would suggest your employer were aware you were undervalued and yet didn’t act on it. Also, what does this mean for any future pay increases? will you need to hand your notice in again? Where did the money come from to increase your pay this time? Is it next years’ salary review come early? Quite often the bank balance remains the same in the long run.

No Regrets

To accept a counter offer you will have turned down a good opportunity you had previously committed to. Having gone back on your word is likely to leave a sour taste with the expecting client as they must start the process again, and may have lost out on other candidates they interviewed and rejected at the time, in favour of offering you the job. Taking this into account, it’s unlikely a client would be so willing to revisit another application from you if you do end up back on the market again – so it’s imperative you are certain about your decision and do not burn your bridges.

Accepting the Counter Offer

Whilst there are various reasons accepting one could be the career “kiss of death”, there are inevitably occasions whereby leaving your current employer may not be the right choice. If you do find yourself swaying more towards staying with your existing employer, it’s important that your original motivations for leaving have been met with whatever has now been offered to you. Failure to achieve this is highly likely to result in job dissatisfaction, with an increasing chance of leaving the role within the next 6-12 months.

When it comes to counter offers, actions speak louder than words. It’s very easy for an employer to promise you everything you have asked for, but how easy is it for them to follow through with it? Where possible, you should seek assurances by way of a contract or some form of written communication so you have evidence of what id to be done and have some way of holding them accountable for the things they have promised you. You shouldn’t feel uncomfortable asking for this, you are turning down a very good opportunity to stay with them, so you want to be confident it’s a decision you won’t regret. Additionally, it’s a very good test of the company’s sincerity.

Counter Offers do happen and are something that you should prepare for in case it does materialise. Remember some counter offers do work out but be mindful that the lure of great offerings can all too often be supported on false promises and job dissatisfaction.