Should you accept a counteroffer?

By Robert Half on 3rd June 2015

So you've impressed your potential new employer in an interview and received a job offer, but now your current employer is offering you a counteroffer, what should you do? This can create something of a dilemma, particularly if the counteroffer is attractive. Do you stick to your guns and reject the counteroffer, or do you stay where you are? When faced with this decision, it is important to consider the situation as a whole.

A counteroffer is an alternative offer made by an employer when an opportunity to work elsewhere has arisen for their employee - but how affective are they? Around 34 percent of those who accepted a counteroffer left their organisation within six months, suggesting this may only be a short term fix for both employers and employees. You need to think about your long-term career development, and how you will best pursue your long-term professional goals.

Related: How to resign from your job

1. Does it address underlying issues?

It's rare for a person to resign just to receive a higher counteroffer, they usually look for a new job because they feel ready for a change or a new challenge. There are many reasons you may choose to move on, maybe your progress feels stagnant, or you're just ready to take on new challenges. Regardless of the reason, you have to ask yourself how it will be until you start to feel these same things about your current employer and job again. Even if there is a promotion and a pay raise on the table, will you be happy in your current company in 6 months time?

2. Has the bond of trust been broken?

Once your notice has been handed in, it'll be difficult for your working relationship with your manager to go back to what it was before. Even if you accept a counteroffer, the bond of trust you have built will be damaged, and senior leaders may start to question your loyalty to the company. Moving forward, this may hinder professional relationships going forward, and may even impact your day-to-day working life.

3. It may be a cost-saving measure

Hiring a replacement and training new employees can cost a significant amount of money, particularly where senior roles are concerned. In some cases, employers may offer a counteroffer to avoid the hassle and expenditure involved in recruiting a new candidate. Might this be why your boss has offered a counteroffer? If this is the case, there may be no real benefit in staying as it may hinder your career development.

4. Why was your salary not increased sooner?

If your employer believes you're worth keeping, you have to ask yourself why the offer of a salary increase was not offered sooner. If you have tried to negotiate a pay rise at an earlier point but it was refused, it can suggest that your manager has been trying to delay paying you the amount you are worth, or perhaps they want to save money on recruiting a new employee. Consulting the Robert Half Salary Guide will show you how much you could, and should, be earning.

Related: How to negotiate a higher salary

5. Will accepting this counteroffer leave you with regrets?

As you have probably worked for your current employer for a length of time, it'll probably be quite easy to visualise how your career will develop within the organisation after accepting a counteroffer. However, It's likely you'll continue to have the same issues you had before, and the same career development opportunities that were already there. About 69 percent of people stay because of familiarity and comfort, and more than half (56%) stay because of security. It's important to make changes and be open to new opportunities, if you remain in the same company for too long, you may end up with regrets later in your career.

Related: 8 signs you're ready for a career change

This is a difficult position to be in, but whatever you decide to do, make sure you've considered all aspects of the situation so you can make the best decision for you. For more tips from Robert Half, please see our Career Advice page.

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