The Scary Truth About Counteroffers

The Scary Truth About Counteroffers

If you’ve ever handed in your notice to a boss and immediately been granted a pay rise, then you were subject to the “counteroffer.”

That sounds nice, you’re probably thinking. What’s so scary about that?

In fact, it’s the opposite that’s scary, you may surmise.

Even if you’ve been looking to move on for a while, when it comes to the crunch, the thought of handing in your resignation letter, upsetting your boss, leaving behind your friends and having to learn a new job can seem like the scariest prospect imaginable.

When your boss reaches out with this gesture of goodwill, it’s natural to be tempted.

You get to stay where it’s safe, where your mates are, please your boss and at the same time get paid even more. Perhaps an even more glamorous job title. Win-win!

But wait…

Before you jump at the offer, you need to think it through carefully.

A counteroffer is not what it seems…

If the only reason you were planning to leave was for a better salary and your employer is willing to match that, then perhaps it’s worth a moment or two’s thought.

However, believe it or not, money isn’t the number one motivator to find a new job for most candidates.

Other reasons you may be looking for a new role are:

  • You’re bored and need a new challenge
  • You find the job too stressful
  • You want to work closer to home
  • You’re looking for more flexible working hours
  • You don’t feel appreciated by your company

Accepting more money, a better job title or additional responsibility is not going to cure you of your itchy feet.

There are many statistics flying about the internet, but suffice it to say (and we’ve seen it ourselves) that often, most candidates who accept a counteroffer are back on our books before long, sometimes within just days. In fact, the majority of candidates leave their post within 12 months, so they are back to where they were. This suggests that once you’ve decided to leave, it’s too late – you won’t ever feel totally happy with your old employer again.

But don’t simply take our word for it. You have to own your decision; we can only furnish you with the facts.

A counteroffer makes financial sense to the employer

Maybe they like you and value your skills, but know this: the money they’re offering you is not a validation of your contribution. It’s simply a cheaper option than going through the recruitment process, which costs them over twice your salary.

The employer knows you’ll leave eventually

If you’ve already decided to leave, your boss knows it’s only a matter of time before you’ll jump at another offer, but now they’re forewarned. Taking them up on their counteroffer only gives them time to find the person who will replace you. When you do leave, it might not be your decision anymore; you may be first in line for redundancies.

You threatening to leave will have rocked the boat

Now the boss knows you’ve got one foot out the door, trust will be damaged and this could lead to a hostile work environment where they’ll be monitoring your work performance more and more. Scary, indeed!

Reasons you should say “No!” to a counter offer

You deserve a company that values your potential

If your current employer couldn’t see your worth before you handed in your notice, then you ought to go somewhere that does.

A counteroffer benefits the employer more than the candidate

It seems illogical, but a counteroffer works more in the employer’s favour than it does yours.

It’s an exciting change

There comes a time in every career when it’s time to move on. If you’ve been feeling unhappy in your current role for a while, then a change is as good as a rest. A new job will reinvigorate you and develop you professionally way more than staying still and safe will.

A counteroffer only thrills for a short time

It takes approximately two months for an employee to start looking again after they take a counteroffer. It’s basically a sticking plaster, and its effectiveness lasts just as long. Soon you’ll be on the job market again, meaning potentially more months of searching when you’ve already let a great opportunity slip through your fingers.

If you’re facing a decision about whether or not to accept your employer’s counteroffer, then it’s up to you. As recruiters, we want you to take up our client’s job offer, of course, but it’s all about you being happy. If you believe you’ll be more satisfied staying on in your current place of work, then we'll trust your judgement. Sadly, we see it all too often: a great candidate lured by a counteroffer, only to come back to us with regrets.

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