Is Accepting A Counter-Offer Ever Worthwhile?

Is Accepting A Counter-Offer Ever Worthwhile?


  • Half of job seekers will receive a counter-offer from their employers
  • 80% of employees who accept a counter-offer will leave within six months
  • Counter-offers are rarely about the employee but protecting the business.

Looking for a new job is an exciting time. Whether you are seeking the next challenge in your career or have decided you need a change of scenery from your current role, a new opportunity can be life-changing.

During the recruitment process, there can be some difficult decisions to make. This whole process can be even more complicated if your current employer makes a counter-offer. You’ve already decided to move on, and suddenly there are new terms to think about. The idea of being offered more money or additional benefits can be tempting, but is it ever worthwhile?

What Is A Counter-Offer?

Deciding to leave your job and take on a new venture is a huge decision and one that often takes months of preparation.

When you finally get offered that dream role that you’ve had your heart set on, it might seem like that’s the end of the process. However, many job seekers are then faced with the counter-offer. This is when you hand in your notice to your current employer, and they offer you a pay rise or promotion in return for staying with the business.

A counter-offer can seem like an excellent opportunity. After all, you already know the company and the people, and you are being offered more to stay. But this isn’t a decision to be taken lightly, because often a counter-offer isn’t as great as it may seem.

Why Would An Employer Make A Counter-Offer?

Before you can decide if a counter-offer is ever worthwhile, you need to understand why your employer is offering one. They can seem like a flattering compliment, but the hard truth is that a counter-offer is not about you, it’s about the business.

A huge 50% of workers who hand in their resignation will receive a counter-offer, so this is not a rare situation. Replacing employees takes time and money. You need to consider the cost of advertising your role, finding the right candidate and then training them. Typically, it costs 213% of an annual salary to replace a senior team member.

Not only that but if you are in a role that is challenging to fill because of skills shortages; your position could by empty for many months. All this means that a lot of the time and stress for the business. Consequently, a counter-offer has nothing to do with how much they like you as an employee, but it is a cost-saving exercise.

Is Accepting A Counter-Offer Ever Worthwhile?

When an employer makes a counter-offer, it can disrupt your plans significantly. Just when you think you are ready to leave and move on to the next exciting stage of your career, you have another decision to make.

It is important that you weigh up the benefits and downsides of accepting a counter-offer before making your final decision. Here are a few things to consider if you receive a counter-offer;

Remember Your Reasons For Leaving

You have already made the hard decision to leave the company, and there would have been some real reasons behind that choice. Consider why you decided to look for a new role and ask yourself if the counter-offer changes anything.

For example, if you were leaving because you hate your commute, then no matter how much money your employer offers you, your commute will still be there.

You Could Ruin Your Employer’s Trust

Once your employer knows that you have decided to leave the company and go elsewhere, their trust in you could be gone for good. Even if you decide to accept the counter-offer and stay with them, they may question your loyalty. They may be reluctant to invest more into your career in future, out of fear that you are going to decide to leave again.

When a business thinks you aren’t there for the long-term, it can have a negative impact on your career.

Think About Why They Didn’t Offer This Before

If your current company was in a position to offer a pay rise or a promotion, why did they not do it before you decided to leave? A company that recognises the value in its employees is essential. So, if it takes handing your notice in to get what you deserve, then maybe they aren’t the kind of business you want to work for.

If your existing employers offer you a promotion, then carefully consider if that new role really exists. It is not uncommon for a business to make a new role as a promotion to entice you to stay, only to give themselves time to find a replacement. Once they’ve recruited your old position, your new role might become redundant because you are now expendable.

It Can Tarnish Your Professional Reputation

No one wants to be messed around and backing out of a deal will never go down well. Your new business will have halted their recruitment and planning your arrival, only to be turned down at the last minute because you accepted your counter-offer.

The same goes for recruiters; they have put a lot of hard work and dedication into finding you the perfect role. When you back out, not only can it be costly for them, but it makes them look bad to their clients. All of this bad blood can be extremely damaging to your future career choices.

You will not only blow your chances of working at that company again, or with that recruiter, but there is no way of knowing if those hiring managers will go on to work at your next dream business.

What Is Your Reason For Leaving?

Some workers use counter-offers as a tactic to get their current employer to give them a pay rise and realise their value to the company. This is a very different situation to actually wanting to leave and find a new role.

When you are using a resignation as a way of getting more money for your current role, you are never really serious about leaving the business. This situation is very different from when you want to leave your role for another but receive an incentive to stay.

The truth is, it is rarely worthwhile to accept a counter-offer. A survey by the Wall Street Journal revealed that 80% of employees who accept a counter-offer leave the company within six months. It can be very tempting to stay where you are and settle for a pay rise or promotion. However, in the long run, it could be detrimental to your career.

If you receive a counter-offer, make sure you consider it very carefully. Remember that if you have received a job offer for a role that you have worked very hard to get, then that should always be your top priority.

We know that making a big change in your career can bring anxiety and stress. However, there was a reason you wanted to leave, and a fantastic opportunity lies ahead. So do think carefully before slipping back into the comfort of your old role. You may be forsaking a chance to really enjoy the next stage of your career.

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