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Should I accept a counter offer?

Posted over 2 years ago by Julia Williams
Recruitment Insight chess board

​Head held high, you’ve got a new job (congratulations!) and you hand your notice in, confident that you’re moving onto better prospects in a company where you feel you’re the right fit. But then your current employer surprises you. They tell you they want you to stay, offering you a higher salary, training opportunities, perhaps even that promotion you’ve been dreaming of.

Suddenly the confidence in your decision exits the room and you’re left questioning whether you should stay or go.

In light of the labour shortage and varying difficulties in recruitment which companies have been facing in 2021, we’re seeing more candidates being counter offered than before. Staff quite simply are becoming irreplaceable for some companies, and a preference to retain rather than retrain is present.

Counter offers can be highly flattering, but before deciding whether to stay or go (as the famous song goes), we encourage you to consider the following.

Have your reasons for leaving been solved?

More money is fantastic. A promotion, out of this world. But do these solve the issues which led to you searching for another job?

If they do, then great! But if you’re leaving due to stress, culture or other factors, then a material gain may not be what you need during the longer term. In fact 80% of candidates who accept a counter offer from their employer normally end up leaving the role within 6 months. So before saying yes to that alluring offer, considering whether it is what you want and/need in the long-term is a wise step.

Will accepting change the culture?

Though great in some situations, a counter offer exposes the cold truth that you’d had thoughts about leaving, had met with competitive companies, you may have even called in sick to attend an interview.

Trust can be damaged by this.

Research finds that 71% of senior executives and 67% of HR leaders believe superiors in the current company would question the employees loyalty moving forwards. It can even open the doors to colleagues believing you’re favoured by senior figures, especially if it’s not common practice within the company to counter offer.

In some instances accepting a counter offer could be inversely negative, and unless you have a strong relationship with your colleagues, can be damaging to your beliefs about company culture.

What should I do if I’m counter offered?

  • Ask for time before making a decision - you want to get this right if another job is on the line.

  • Set clear parameters about when you will get back to your manager - don’t make it too long!

  • Consider the reasons why you decided to leave - is it being solved by the counter offer?

  • What is the other company offering that competes?

  • Will accepting the offer change my relationship with my boss and colleagues?

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Header: Image adapted from Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels