Should you accept a counter offer?

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

The offer is in your hand, the team matches, the job matches and the career prospects are what you are looking for. But then, all of a sudden, a counter offer appears from your current employer like a wild Pokémon in the grass region when you are simply trying to leave.

But wait, this counter offer is appealing. It matches what you actually wanted in the first place and the added bonus is you don’t have to change jobs and start fresh.

This sounds like the perfect scenario and it might actually be the right one for you despite many saying it’s not.

This article will not try to give you the classic ‘recruiter sell’ that all counter offers are bad, in truth they aren’t. The majority might not be right, sure, but all of them? No.

What we want to do in this article is give you points to consider when a counter offer happens. Offer up both sides of the argument, allowing you to be more informed for when the inevitable happens.

Before you determine if accepting a counter offer is good or bad, you need to understand why you have one in the first place. We have highlighted a few common reasons below that could put the organisation in the category of genuine or selfish (you will know your current employer a lot better than we will!), from here you can approach the counteroffer with the right frame of mind.

Genuine

  • You add value to the organisation and the business doesn’t want to lose that.
  • Other employees depend on your skills and knowledge.
  • They might not have realised their mistakes and want the opportunity to change that.

Selfish

  • Replacing you will take a lot of time and energy from the company, pushing projects back.
  • The cost of replacing you is higher than offering you more money or a higher bonus.
  • Your absence might impact the wider organisation and cause a wave of others leaving.

Finding out why a counter offer has been made can be challenging, you cannot really ask upfront and expect the truth. Therefore, look for more subtle messages as to how they present the counter offer, this including their body language and the words they use when presenting will help determine their sincerity.

Once you have identified their sincerity (if you feel they are doing it for selfish reasons we highly recommend rejecting the counter offer now), you then need to look into the counter offer specifically and ask yourself, does it fill the void or problems you had that made you start a new job search in the first place.

If you felt undervalued, will the counter offer make you now feel valued?

If you felt you were underpaid, does the counter offer now make up for that?

If you felt like your career wasn’t progressing any further, does the new offer highlight a career roadmap?

These are the types of questions you should be asking yourself and exploring the reasons behind each answer in detail. An example on salary, you felt underpaid but the counter offer adds an extra €5,000 to your annual salary, this is great but now ask, why did it take you to the point of potentially leaving for the company to pay you what you felt you deserved?

Each time you answer a question, it has the capacity to lead to more. Spend time exploring all avenues before making the decision about accepting or rejecting.

We have seen it in the past where employees who accept a counter offer, did so because the new offer did in fact fix the root cause of their problems, if the counter offer truly does this, then go ahead and accept, but make sure you are certain.

If, however you are still unsure, consider this, 80% of candidates who accept a counter offer from their current employer leave within 6 months and 9 out of 10 who accept a counter offer leave within the first 12 months.

With 57% of employees accepting counter offers and the above statistics suggesting that the majority of them do not fix the root causes, from our experiences if you are sitting on the fence about the counter offer, go ahead and reject it as you have a much higher chance of success leaving and joining the new organisation that if you were to stay with the current.

Counter offers happen a lot, as mentioned the reasons might be genuine or selfish (depending on your employer) and not all counter offers are bad, despite recruiter’s opinion. This is your career, don’t let anyone tell you what is best for you, here at Peritus Partners we advise and lay out all the facts, giving you the chance to make the most informed decision possible, and once a decision is made (positive or negative) we support you to that conclusion.

If you feel someone else could benefit from reading this article, share it with them and let’s help simplify the chaos of recruitment together.

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Eden Whitcomb

Eden Whitcomb

Bringing simplicity to the chaos of recruitment, one educational post at a time.