Should I Accept A Counter Offer?

Man is considering whether to accept a counter offer or not

With the majority of businesses grappling with how to attract and retain hard-working, skilled employees, it is becoming more and more likely that individuals will be faced with the option of accepting a counter offer after resigning from their current employer.

Counter offers can confuse individuals in the last stages of securing a new job elsewhere, and can make them question should I accept a counter offer and stay put?

In some circumstances, accepting a counter offer can work in the person’s favour. However, with reportedly 8 in 10 employees leaving their company within 6 months of accepting a counter offer, it might not be the best option in the long run.

What is a counter offer?

When it comes to employment, a counter offer is a proposal from your current company, to reverse your resignation. Often, a counter offer is presented after you have handed in your notice.

A counter offer is normally financially driven, however, it can also include:

  • Flexible working options
  • Training/ development opportunities
  • Other perks and benefits

You might choose to accept a counter offer if your concerns about the company/your role have been addressed. However, if you are given a counter offer, I would highly recommend having a proper conversation with your manager to address all of the issues you have / reasons you are looking for a new job. You might get exactly what you want. However, the vast majority (8 in 10 workers) of those who do accept a counter offer, do go on to leave in the months after. This is because more vague promises like ‘training and career development’ don’t always materialise.

With around 50% of resigning workers being given counter offers by their current employer, it is not an unusual part of the new job process.

Why would my employer give me a counter offer?

For businesses, replacing an employee is very expensive. It can cost around 20% of a mid-level employee’s salary to replace them. For executive-level employees, it can cost up to 213% of their salary. This is not including the cost of training and/or upskilling. Thus, it can be cheaper for an employer to provide a counter offer in the long run.

Should I accept a counter offer? Pros and cons

Choosing whether to accept a counter offer is a big decision. The most important aspect to consider is whether the counter offer satisfies your reasons and desire to leave. You may want to accept the offer if it means you stay with the company you know, and don’t have to start again in a new workplace. However, could you be waylaying the inevitable by continuing to work for them? There are a number of pros and cons to consider before making the decision.

Pros

  • The counter offer satisfies all of your requirements

This is by far the best reason to accept a counter offer; especially if it is a better offer than the one your prospective new company has offered. If your working situation would be better off by staying then, of course, it is the better option.

  • Familiarity and ease

Remaining at the same company will mean that you won’t need to adapt to a new environment, learn new processes or get to know new colleagues. If the work environment was never one of your issues for leaving, you might be glad to stay.

Cons

  • A counter offer might not answer all your concerns

Even if your employer has offered you a pay rise, what about things like work culture and work life balance? It’s likely that there’s more than one reason why you no longer want to work for your current company. Will accepting a counter offer make your working life better and make you want to remain there long-term?

  • A pay increase might not equal a long-term solution

If the reason you are leaving the company is because of a lack of pay rises or bonuses, that will likely continue. Unless the new offer writes generous pay increases, bonuses, or commissions into your contract, nothing is likely to change, and you will be in the same position as before. If they were reluctant enough to improve your situation at work before, they are unlikely to do so again in the future.

  • A counter offer could affect your workplace relationships

You might decide to stay, but the damage is likely to have been done the second you gave in your notice, with your manager questioning your loyality. If you made excuses of illnesses and doctor appointments (which we do not recommend) to go for interviews, when your employer finds out that was a lie, it might sour relationships.

Additionally, when opportunities for promotion come up, a perceived lack of loyalty or you being a “flight risk” might mean that you aren’t the first employee they consider.

  • You could be missing out on a great opportunity

There might be genuinely good reasons why you want to take the new role, which you shouldn’t ignore. If you do choose to accept a counter offer, later on down the line, you might regret it and decide to move on, but it’s not guaranteed you’d find a similar offer.

How do I handle a counter offer?

If you are wondering whether you should accept a counter offer, don’t act impulsively. The same effort that goes into accepting a job offer at a new company should also be reflected when considering a counter offer. It can be an overwhelming process, where you might not know what to do. Here are a few key tips:

  • Get the full details of this counter offer from your manager and have a full conversation about what the offer entails
  • Compare the two offers and companies, using the pros and cons for both
  • Remember your reasons for leaving and carefully consider if the counter offer would change these
  • If a recruitment consultant has been negotiating your new role, make sure you speak with them to explain the situation. Whether you choose to accept the counter offer or not, it’s important to maintain good relations for the future.

Most importantly, remember not to burn any bridges with either your current or prospective company, whether you decide to accept a counter offer or not. Make the right decision for you.

 

If you are an IT professional considering applying for a new role, take a look at our current opportunities here, or if there are none that fit your requirements, send in your CV and we will contact you when there is a suitable role.

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