Why you should not accept a counteroffer

Congrats! You have made it all the way to the end of the application process and have received an offer from your potential new employer. All that is left for you to do is give your notice to your current employer and onto a new journey you go.


Just when you think every is decided and your mind made up, your current employer puts a counteroffer in front of you and all of a sudden, you’ve got a decision to make once again.  Nowadays, it can be common practice for employers to give out counter offers when their employees resign.  And in the moment, a counteroffer can be enticing as you feel like you’re wanted, and you’re being offered more than what you had.  But when something appears to be good on the surface, is there any strings attached or is there something you must worry about?  Let’s dig a little deeper into this as we explore 4 reasons why you should not accept a counteroffer from your current employer.


Remember why you were searching for a new job

There must’ve been a reason why you started your job search in the first place.  For some it’s money, but for many it’s a combination of several different factors.  It could be that you’re looking for a change in environment, a new challenge, have been overlooked for a promotion, better work life balance, shorter commute, career change, or you may not be happy with your current work situation.


Most counteroffers will only help satisfy your material requirements such as salary and benefits package, but will that be enough to satisfy the reason why you were looking? For most people, the monetary increases may temporarily overshadow the reasons why they were searching for a job, but quickly those urges will return.  It is important to remind yourself why you started the search in the first place and evaluate whether a counteroffer would satisfy your reason to look for a change.  It is always a good idea to talk to a mentor, parent, older sibling, trusted friend / colleague to give you an outside perspective of the offer and offer a neutral opinion on your situation.


Understand why your employer is doing it

It is important to understand why your employer is making a counteroffer at this point. Is it because they genuinely value you and the work that you provide and are willing to invest in your abilities or is it just because it is a reaction to your resignation?  Many employers make counteroffers out of instinct as they were not expecting your departure from the team and do not wish to be without someone in your role because they don’t know when they’ll be able to find a replacement.  The cost of not having someone in your position along with the cost of hiring someone new, it just makes sense from an employer’s perspective to offer you a little more to avoid those costs.


In addition, you must ask yourself why it is only when you announce your resignation that your employer decides to offer a raise and / or promotion.  Is it within the budget for the increase that you will be receiving and if not, is it sustainable for the company in the long run?  Your employer could just buy time for themselves until they are able to find a suitable replacement to fill your position.  It is important to understand your employer’s motivations for making a counteroffer and whether you feel they genuinely want to keep you on the team.


The repercussions of accepting it

It will not be all smooth sailing if you accept a counteroffer from your current employer, as they are aware of your intent and willingness to leave the company and it could negatively their perception of you and your loyalty moving forward.  With an increase, it could mean that your employer has higher expectations from you as well. It is important to remember that your resignation will not be forgotten.


It could also impact your relationship with your colleagues as they could potentially view your new offer as receiving special treatment from the company.  You may also begin to question all management decisions on future promotions, awards, and recognitions that don’t come your way wondering whether it is because of your intent to leave the company in the past. And the next time that the company needs to downsize, you can bet that they will start layoffs with the ones who have wanted to leave the company in the past.


The track record of accepting a counteroffer

Before accepting a counter offer from your current employer you should be aware that normally that it does not work out in the long term. A study provided by Harvard Business Review has shown that only 5 – 25% of the time employees that accept a counteroffer will stay in the long run. More often than not accepting a counteroffer does not address the issues that caused you to search for a new job and organizations do not change overnight.


When it comes to making a decision on a counteroffer, remember the phrase “nothing lost, nothing gained”.  First you must lose your current position before you can accept new opportunities to explore and gain new experiences.  It is easy to stay and be comfortable with what you know, but remember that you could be passing on a great opportunity that could open more possibilities.


Contact us today to speak with one of our Recruitment Specialists and let us help you find new opportunities for the next step in your career!



If you’re about to take a new job, should you consider your boss’s counteroffer? Harvard Business Review. (2019, February 20). Retrieved November 16, 2022, from https://hbr.org/2019/01/if-youre-about-to-take-a-new-job-should-you-consider-your-bosss-counteroffer

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