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The Truth About Counter Offers

 by talkaboutuk

Source: Fidelis Partners

You’ve handed in your resignation & have a confirmed start date in your new position. Things are looking up in your career as you were successful in your interview, and now your recruiter is tying up the final details with your new employer.

However, instead of just saying thanks for all your hard work, shaking your hand and wishing you all the best on your new move … your current boss makes a counteroffer: A salary increase & perhaps a promotion. This may be not what you expected, but it’s made you think: It’s made you think that you are a valuable asset & your current company really doesn’t want you to leave.

It’s flattering to believe that you are a key employee – and there’s no doubt that you are, if you’ve been pulling in profits and winning new business consistently. But in many cases, resignations can hurt your manager who is just simply thinking about the cost; of replacing you. Businesses always want the very best from their workers & if it’s cheaper to pay you a little bit more and promote you into a better role, then it buys them the time … to find a replacement for you, when it suits them!

After all, a good boss, in a good company knows that there are plenty of other candidates sitting out there who would love the chance to work for their company. It’s just a matter of time … until you become disposable.

You may think that accepting a counteroffer may be good for you, but before you accept, consider these reasons why you should decline.

Your reputation

Once word gets around, you won’t have the same respect from your boss, your team & your peers. Accepting a counteroffer after you’ve made the decision to quit marks you out as indecisive, and this could have the effect that your colleagues lose trust in you. Your team might be left wondering why you have been dealt a ‘special’ deal when they are left without any benefits, despite being loyal to the company. You may find after you’ve accepted, you will be viewed with suspicion & resentment by your co-workers for your show of disloyalty.

All the connections that you’ve made in your search for a new position such as: your recruiter, HR departments & the company that offered you a new job will all remember that you decided to accept an offer, so if you ever need their help again, they are unlikely to be as accommodating – or trusting, once they come across your name again.

The Financial Incentive (or bribe)

More money may make you happy (in the short-term) but this extra financial gain has to come from somewhere. This could well be money that was allocated for your next annual raise or bonus, so where was this financial appreciation in your last promotion or review? It should make you wonder why you weren’t so valuable enough to deserve a raise before (when you were coming in to work, doing your job, just like everyone else.) After all, it’s expensive to recruit & train a new employee and your salary increase could well outweigh the cost of finding someone new. If you are unhappy in your current job, and this is one of the reasons you have decided to move, then money won’t buy you job satisfaction you desire.

Remember … your new company have recognized your worth … from the outset & not as a cost saving afterthought.


Your loyalty will always be in question, and the whole team isn’t going to forget who went looking for another job, and was on the way out of the door for pastures new. When it comes to future promotions & bonuses – or to start making redundancies, your employer will certainly know who is loyal, and who isn’t. Remember, the management wanted you to stay, for their benefit and if there is a chance that they should let someone go on their terms – guess who is going to be on that list?

You are going to leave anyway

Statistics show that you will go back to looking for a new job within 90 days. It’s probable that even after accepting a counteroffer, you will be gone within the year. Remind yourself why you wanted to leave in the first place & consider the logic of the offer you were made. If you were so valuable, why did they wait until you resigned to offer you what you are really worth? A counteroffer could almost be considered an insult from a company that just wants to buy your time. This is your career decision and a new journey for you, so don’t let persuasion affect your decision. 

A financial offer or promotion is likely to get you thinking, but is it possible to achieve your career goals if you stay where you are? Your career is yours alone, so if you’ve decided to move on, then you have already found an opportunity that you believe will be better than your current role. Don’t put your progress & career aspirations on hold, simply because it’s easier to stay put for a little more money. Good companies realise that the best people don’t stay with one company for their entire life and that moving upwards is a natural part of a running a business with a change of personnel. This should make you realise that there are serious problems if you presented with a counteroffer.

Resigning is never easy

Handing in your resignation is never easy, but if you are handed a counteroffer in return, this makes it all that more difficult to make the right decision. If you come across this situation be polite, thank your employer for the offer, but firmly decline. Remember a counteroffer will just keep you around for a few months until it’s time to move on: either forced, or by choice.

If you handle your exit professionally, you will leave without any bad feeling and possibly keep a helpful business connection for the future.

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