Counteroffers – should you ever accept one?

Imagine this scenario, you’re feeling undervalued in your current job. It’s a struggle to get out of bed in the mornings and to drag yourself off to your place of work. You feel you’re never given anything challenging to do, and when you get a task done it feels like your manager takes all the credit for it. I know what many people would justifiably do in such circumstances…start looking for a new employer.

If you are then fortunate enough to find a new job that you feel is better suited to your skills and ambitions it can be a real boost to your morale. Exciting times are ahead in a new environment. So now all that needs to be done is to hand in your notice to your manager.

So you book the meeting and give your manager the news, but then something unexpected happens – your manager looks shocked, and says to you “I had no idea you were so unhappy you wanted to leave…what if I could offer you a pay rise and promise to give you more responsibility, would you consider staying?”
This is a classic counteroffer situation. What would you do then? Better the devil you know than you don’t right?

At this juncture you really need to step away from the situation and think about why you wanted to leave. These reasons probably haven’t changed by what your manager has just told you. Do you even trust that these promises will actually materialise?

So why has your manager suddenly made you this offer?
It could well be a knee-jerk reaction to the unsettling thought of having to recruit your replacement. Whatever they offer you as a pay rise will almost certainly be less than the cost and time associated with recruiting someone new.

Would they have said this to you if you hadn’t just threatened to leave…they never have done before. If you have to threaten to leave to get a promotion, is this really the sort of company you want to work for?

Another thing to consider is that by saying you’ll leave, you have effectively broken the trust between you and your employer. If they don’t consider you to be a team player, how long will you really be able to stay in your current environment? Most people we have seen who accept counter offers are looking for a new job within 6 months anyway. Surely it’s better to be in control of your destiny and take that new job you just earned yourself with your hard work and fantastic interview skills.

In our many years’ experience within recruitment we have never seen a counter offer result in a happy ending. We would always advise everyone to reject counter offers!

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