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Counter Offers - Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Accepting a Counter OfferSo you have successfully interested an employer with your CV, impressed at numerous interviews, and negotiated a remuneration package which suits your personal circumstances and reflects your professional capabilities.


You have verbally accepted an offer, written your resignation letter, and, all things considered, you are mentally ready to make that move. What could possibly go wrong?

Of course it’s flattering to know your current employer wants you to stay within their organisation; everybody likes to feel valued - and even better to feel valued with some extra pay in your back pocket!

You like your work colleagues, you are comfortable where you are and it’s a tough industry out there at the moment. Let’s face it - a counter offer is looking more and more tempting by the hour.

But there are a few things you should consider before making that decision…

Why have I been counter-offered?

There are many reasons companies make counter offers, and you will never be 100% sure why your current employer has chosen to take this path. What you can be sure of is that:

  • Refilling your position will be costly: advertising costs, recruitment fees and training costs involved in getting the new recruit up to speed quickly mount up
  • The time needed to be put aside for reviewing CVs, interviewing candidates, organising training and induction days (which usually need to take place within your notice period) can be inconvenient at best and a luxury most managers can’t really afford in the current market
  • The loss of a well liked employee can affect morale in the company. There is a risk other employees’ heads may be turned and they may start looking around for their next move.

Why did I make the decision to leave in the first place?

  • Remember why your new position appealed initially. Securing a new role isn’t easy; you put a lot of effort into securing this one.
  • Think about your current company. Why were you entertaining a move in the first place? You may be being paid more, but will this address any of your non-money related concerns?
  • Also think about your future company. Are you prepared to potentially burn your bridges with them? They clearly interest you, and how likely is it they will consider you seriously for other roles in the future if you turn this one down?

Why did I have to quit to get a pay rise?

  • You are doing the same role as before and your standard of work hasn’t changed - but suddenly you are worth more?
  • If a pay rise was possible and justified, why wasn’t it given unprompted? Is that really the type of company you want to work for?

Will my job security be affected?

  • Your boss has fought to keep you from quitting, but when it comes time to make redundancies or reduce personnel it’s a pretty safe bet that you will be near the top of the list as you have already tried to jump ship once
  • Will you be trusted in the same way as you were before? Or will your boss always be thinking you are looking around, worried you are applying elsewhere?
  • How will this affect your career development in the company if you stay? Will you really be promoted ahead of your co-workers who haven’t tried to leave previously?

In summary, there are many questions you need to ask yourself (and your current employer) before making a final decision.

It is a good idea to list the advantages and disadvantages of each situation and discuss them with someone whose opinion you value. There may not be a ‘one size fits all’ answer, however in our experience, accepting a counter offer rarely (if ever!) works out.

If you do choose to accept a counter offer, it is important to remember that your resignation hasn’t been forgotten. You will need to work extremely hard to regain your employer’s trust and ensure it doesn’t affect your future career prospects within that company.

Remember, within the current energy climate the new opportunity you are turning down almost certainly won’t be there in six months time!

Written by Emily Egerton - Senior Consultant, Software & Web Development