Should you accept a counteroffer?

Look at some of the things you should consider before accepting a counteroffer from your current employer. But in short, our advice is that you probably shouldn’t, after all, there was a reason you began to look for something new.

 Moving jobs is exciting but also sometimes stressful. Whether you’re leaving for a better opportunity or no longer enjoy where you are anymore, most people are pretty surprised when they hand in their notice and receive a counteroffer in return. In that moment, it can be very tempting to accept it too, especially if it’s a job you enjoy. You’d be doing exactly same role, but this time with the promise of more money in an environment you’re familiar with. You avoid the risk of joining a company you may not like and working with a team you’re not certain you’ll gel with.

 Don’t be tempted…by accepting a counteroffer you’ll find a lot changes.

Here are our top 8 reasons why you should never accept that counteroffer:

 1. Your current employer has been undervaluing you 

If it’s taken the threat of you leaving for an employer to act on you, then they don’t deserve you at all. By them offering you more money as soon as you say you’re planning to leave, they are essentially admitting you’ve been underpaid the whole time. Why would you stay at a company that undervalues you in such an obvious way?

2. Getting paid more won’t change the job 

If you already know it’s the right time to leave then trust your gut instinct. Getting paid more won’t change the job or further your growth. You’ll still be doing the same role, the same commute, working for and with the same people. If these were some of the factors in your decision to look for a new job, the idea of accepting a counter offer doesn’t seem to make sense.

3. Your loyalty could be questioned 

If you’ve thought about leaving once, your boss and colleagues know you’ll probably do it again. You’ve already researched the market and seen what’s out there, so it becomes difficult for your employer to trust that you won’t make the move again. According to Adria Solutions, less than 80% of people who accept-counter offers don’t remain longer than six months in the job. This may end up changing the dynamics in the office in a negative way as less people trust your loyalty.

4. Future progression within the company may become more difficult 

If your loyalty is now being questioned, it’s difficult to expect to be moved up the career ladder to a higher position. Even if the job has room for promotions, you probably will not be the first employee they pick at promotion time. Your colleagues will now most likely jump ahead of you, regardless of your level, as your initial trust has been broken.

 5. If times get tough you may be the first to go 

If your current employer experiences hard times or if the economy gets bad they are more likely to hang on to employees that have shown loyalty. We saw during the 2020 pandemic a lot of people had to be let go from their jobs and the decision on who those people were had to be made. In times like this, those who have been job shopping for another opportunity are much more likely to be let go than those who have stayed committed.

6. Your company may start finding someone to replace you anyway

Now your company is aware you have been tempted to leave, a counter offer may just be a temporary tactic whilst they start searching for a replacement who will take a lower salary. This doesn’t always happen, but if you accept a counter-offer and are doing the same job on a higher pay, it’s possible your boss want someone who can do the job at your original price.

7. It may be a long time before you get another pay rise 

If your employer has almost been forced to give you a pay rise to stop you from leaving, it’s unlikely you’ll get a raise in the near future. This may now take even longer as you are already being paid more for a job you’re already doing. It’s much more satisfying and appreciated when you get a pay rise for the work you’ve done, not just because you’ve threatened to leave.

8. You’ll be missing out on the value of new opportunities 

When you avoid taking risks, you may miss out on some of the best opportunities. Being proactive about going after your dreams and moving into a new company could take your career to the next level. Your new company might offer better career and personal development opportunities and the chance for you to learn new skills and tackle new challenges. As commonly said, “there’s no reward in life without risk”.

Accepting a counteroffer may seem like a good idea at the time and there will definitely be some thinking for you to do, but with so many negative consequences your decision should be easily weighed up. If you’ve gotten to the point of handing in your notice, then you must know that regardless of the money there are other reasons to make the move, and accepting a pay rise won’t resolve these issues. Having a fresh start, however, can!

Russell Humphrey
Founder of The Humphrey Group