Everything You Need To Know About Counteroffers

Breaking up is hard to do.

Your resignation will likely be a relatively short conversation with your employer, and in most cases, they will be happy for you and wish you well on your next step. But sometimes the conversation can be stressful. And in all cases, there is still a high probability that you will be asked what can be done to keep you on board.

Counteroffers are one of the first things that typically come up. You never think you will receive one, but almost everyone does. It is often cheaper and easier to keep you on board than to find a new you. In many cases, a counteroffer is just a band aid to cover the issues that brought you to seek new opportunities in the first place.

The time to think about a counteroffer is before your receive one.

  • Compensation
    • It’s unlikely that feeling underpaid is the only reason that you started looking for a new job; for most, it’s a combination of factors. Think about what compelled you to start exploring new opportunities and ask yourself if a pay increase will rectify those issues.
    • If money is a large driver for you, it is important to question why it took resignation for your employer to recognize your value. Good employers are proactive in keeping strong employees through both financial and non-financial recognition.
  • Promotion and Career Development
    • Career development is a big motivator for moving on. Your employer likely already knows you are looking to step into the next level, and if the topic doesn’t come up until you are stepping out the door, you should think carefully about when and how your promotion would take effect. Is there a concrete timeline? Are they being transparent with you?
  • Unexpected Impacts of Counteroffers
  • Look into The Future 
    • Accepting a counteroffers is typically a short term fix, in fact, the majority of employees who accept counteroffers ultimately end up changing companies within a few short months.
  • Professional Relationships
    • There is an emotional component involved in a counteroffer. It is completely normal to be flattered by a counteroffer, but don’t waver on your decision to accept a new opportunity.
  • Counteroffers can be a Stall Tactic
    • Often employers will pay you more (or tell you they plan to pay you more!) because they know it will only be for a short while. They will then start searching for a replacement who will take a lower salary with a similar skillset to yours.

You’ve done your homework, put time into the interview process, and found a role that better aligns with your career goals, so go into resignation with confidence knowing that you’re making the right decision for you and your career.

But, is there ever a reason to take a counter offer?

People hand in resignations and look for new jobs when they are not satisfied with their current position. A counteroffer may give hope of better working conditions and salary, but statistics show that this is often not the case.

Around 50% of people who accept counteroffers leave for a new job within 12 months. Just because the offer may seem like a good option, it won’t guarantee job satisfaction down the line.

Sure, on occasion some may “get what they want” and go on feeling satisfied in their career after taking a counter. But the truth is, most people who are actively looking and have a strong sense of what they need in their next step won’t take a counteroffer.

If you love your job, have a clear path for upward development, and feel appropriately compensated, you wouldn’t be looking in the first place. If you want to stay in your job, but are looking for a raise, or to take on new responsibilities, or maybe manage a team – my recommendation is talk to your boss proactively BEFORE you are holding another job offer over their head.  

How do I decline a counteroffer?

Politely tell your current employer that you appreciate them wanting to keep you, and you learned a lot in your current position. However, your new position offers better career growth or work-life balance and money is not the main motivator in your decision. The end.

Now go celebrate!

Ellie McCarthy specializes in Digital Media, Analytics and B2C marketing recruiting. She spent over 7 years in client and brand side digital media roles, prior to HireMinds, bringing expertise and knowledge that allows her to target, and engage, the most qualified talent in the space.