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The Truth About Handling a Job Counter Offer

You’ve made it to the end of a lengthy and gruelling interview process for your dream job and receive an offer that is just too good to turn down.

You stroll into your Manager’s office the following day with your resignation letter for a quick chat, you shake hands, they wish you all the best and that’s that. Simple, right?

As a recruiter for the Technology industry, it is clear that demand for IT positions – from Web Developers to Support Engineers - is far outweighing supply. As a result, it’s no surprise that we are seeing an associated increase in counter-offers to keep those sought-after staff safely on-board.

In my experience, staying with your current employer can be the right thing to do for some candidates, but I will very often receive calls from staff who accepted a counter offer a few months earlier and are now back on the market looking for a move.

Research by a number of agencies and job boards suggests between 70% and 80% of people who accept a counter offer leave their position within a year.

Your current employer is making a last-ditch attempt to keep you because you’re an indispensable resource, surely? As romantic as it sounds, here are a couple of questions you should ask yourself to figure out why:

How Valuable Are You?

It’s doubtful that your value as an employee has suddenly doubled overnight.

It’s more likely that your manager doesn’t want to deal with the associated stresses of your departure. Interviewing, hiring and training new staff are all costly pursuits, in terms of both time and money.

Add to that the disruption in workflow and the impact on the team and your manager’s got a real problem. Usually, adding a bit extra onto your salary is the simpler solution.

Why Did You Start Looking in the First Place?

Why did you start looking in the first place? Career advancement? Salary increase? New technologies? Change of circumstances? Being overqualified or under-utilised? Simply a change of scenery?

There are a whole host of reasons why people in the Tech industry are tempted to move jobs these days and it is always important to constantly remind yourself of what your motivators were when you first updated your CV and began applying.

Are Things Actually Going to Change?

Money makes the world go round – it’s why we all go to work and we all appreciate how much easier an increase in salary can make things. Maybe it can buy you that car or that holiday you always wanted, which is great for the time being.

But once the novelty of having a few pounds extra in your pocket wears off, you’ll soon find that the other reasons that you were leaving will return. You’ll likely remain stagnant in the same role, working with the same technologies, on the same projects, for the same people, in the same office.

How Will You be Treated if You Stay?

It’s always important to contemplate how accepting a counter-offer can affect your relationship with your manager and your team and also the perception of you in the workplace.

It’s often only a matter of time before your performance is scrutinised for how much additional value you are producing relative to your increase in salary. It may also cause unrest in the department as your team catch wind that you are on more than they are for doing the same job.

Finally, it’s annual review time and guess who’s got little chance of a pay-rise following a counter offer three months ago? That’d be you.

When the time comes for you to decide whether to stay or go, I encourage you to think long and hard. If your employer makes you a counter offer, ask for some time to think it over rather than making a snap emotional decision.

Think about your career aspirations and whether you can achieve them with your current employer. If you can, then maybe take them up on their offer, but if chances to progress your career are bleak and you would be stuck with the same roles and responsibilities which motivated you to move in the first place then it’s time for a change.

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Written by Alex Bloomer
Senior Software & Web Development Consultant


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