Counter-offer: should I accept it or not?

Ekaterina Bulanova
February 3, 2021

Counter-offer is a painful topic for both employee and employer. Let's talk about why that is and how to deal with it.

What is a counter-offer?

First of all, let’s determine what a counter-offer is. In simple words, it’s a job offer your current employer makes if you unexpectedly decide to leave. Commonly, employers value top employees and do their best to keep them. It might be pleasing to find out that your employer values you so highly that they are ready to offer better conditions and thus you might decide to stay on. But there are a number of reasons why you shouldn't change your mind.

Reasons for resigning

The reasons for the counter-offer are deeper than they might seem at first sight. Before accepting it, ask yourself why you decided to resign. Your reasons may vary from simple things such as becoming bored or unsatisfied with your salary and career perspectives to a bad relationship with your manager and the team. At best, if the counter-offer covers your needs, it will be a temporary solution before you feel the same way again.

Broken trust

Accepting a counter-offer might lead to new problems. You will never look the same in your employer’s eyes. Your loyalty will be questioned. Your manager will not be sure how long you will stay in the company and this can impact your relationship with them. The counter-offer may just be a cost-saving measure.

Based on the survey run by another recruitment agency:

  • 82.7 % of employers admitted they started looking to replace the employee who had accepted their counter-offer
  • 71.6% trusted their staff less after making them a counter-offer
  • 58.1% of those who accepted a counter-offer felt their employer either didn’t or only partially fulfilled all their promises
  • 75% look for a new job within 18 months from accepting a counter-offer

How to turn down the counter-offer without burning bridges?

It's important to decline the counter-offer without burning bridges. You never know if you happen to work with the same manager or team again and it’s important to leave a good impression. So here are some tips:

  • Be polite
  • Explain your reasons for leaving in a respectful and constructive way
  • Thank your team and managers
  • Do a proper handover to your colleagues when leaving
  • As a compensation, you can help find a replacement and onboard them

It’s up to you to accept or decline the counter-offer but when you consider accepting it, think about what drove you to look for a new job and all the implications.

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