The Danger of a Counter Offer

Is it a good idea to accept a counter offer? Reports suggest that almost 80% of counter offer acceptances result in the employee leaving or losing their job within the following 6 months. I have written this article to propose some questions and make people think through their options in this situation. With a percentage that high, accepting a counter offer can’t be the answer to all your troubles…

The counter offer may revolve around money, additional benefits or a promotion, either way it is important to ask why the offer was made. Think about things from your manager’s point of view. Their actions will be based on a business decision; how much will it cost to replace you compared to what they can offer you as an increase?

As a result of your departure your company will incur:

  • The cost of an empty seat temporarily
  • Training expenses for a new hire
  • The waiting time of bringing a new hire up to speed
  • Advertising fees
  • Recruitment agency costs
  • Potential other resignations or a loss of staff morale

There are many reasons why you might accept a counter offer.

It may be that you feel guilty; you like your boss on a personal level, or feel like you owe them a second chance. You may feel flattered by the money/promotion and think it proves your worth after all.  Slowly the excitement of the new job starts to fade, as do the nerves of handing in your notice; the counter offer is looking very attractive.

Getting a counter offer can leave you feeling caught off guard and indecisive; the desire to stick with what you know clouding your judgement. Or perhaps you are determined to take the new job and your current employer resorts to unprofessional behaviour to try and persuade you to stay.

These questions should help you gather your thoughts to make a guided decision:

  • What were your original motivations for leaving your current company?
  • What were your reasons for accepting the counter offer?
  • How hard will it be to regain the trust of your team and management?
  • Is the increase in salary / promotion enough to make you happy in the long term?
  • Does the counter offer deal with all your reasons for leaving?
  • Will refusing the job offer at the new company damage your reputation with them and limit any opportunity to work there in the future?
  • How unhappy were you to start job hunting in the first place and will be that unhappy if you stay?
  • Why didn’t your employer see your worth or offered you this promotion/pay rise/responsibility prior to you handing in your notice?
  • Is your manager just trying to buy time while they recruit your replacement?

Talk it through with a friend

At this stage it is good to have a chat with someone close to you and list the advantages and disadvantages of both jobs. If you are working with a recruiter, they will have seen a lot of similar scenarios and can advise you on the best course of action. Use their experience & knowledge to help you; it is what they are trained to do.

Referring to my opening statistic, 80% of people who accept a counter offer leave or lose their jobs in 6 months. Do you want to be in the same position in 6 months time, having lost an opportunity with a company who see your worth, value your expertise & experience, and want to invest in your career enough to have offered you an opportunity?