Why You Shouldn’t Take A Counter Offer

You’ve been offered a great new job at a company, you’ve just handed in your resignation and you’re all set to go, but then your current company offers you an enticing pay rise. What do you do?   At first glance this may seem like a very tempting offer, but the chances are, it will end badly.

Here are some possible outcomes of deciding to take a counter offer:

  1. Your current employer may have made you a counter offer in a moment of panic. A company’s motive for a counter offer is usually to protect itself, and someone resigning will look bad on the manager so it’s in their best intentions to keep you – at least for now anyway. But after their initial relief passes, it is likely your relationship with your employer and your standing with the company has fundamentally changed. By looking for jobs elsewhere, you demonstrate that you have the potential to be disloyal to the company, something they will keep in mind when thinking about making promotions.
  2. Even worse, your company might only offer you a counter offer in order to allow them time to search for a replacement. If you’re going to leave the company, they want it to be on their terms. You’re now the one who was looking to leave and this could lead to you being at the top of the list if your company needs to make cutbacks in the future. Research has shown that 70% to 80% of people who accept counteroffers either leave or are let go within a year.
  3. Consider why you started looking for a new job in the first place? Was it just more money you were after, or were there also other factors that drove you to look? Remember that those other factors aren’t going change, and once the initial excitement of a pay rise wears off, it is likely those factors will start to bother you again.
  4. Even if you get more money out of your company now, think about what it took to get it. If you’re worth your increased salary and responsibilities, why wasn’t this recognised before you handed in your notice? There’s no reason to think that future salary increases will be any easier. In fact, the next time you want a raise, you might even be refused altogether on the grounds that they gave you a big increase when you were thinking of leaving.
  5.  If you accept a counter offer that results in a substantial increase in salary, you may end up being overpaid compared to the market rate for your level of experience. This could make an external move in the future challenging, as your remuneration won’t accurately reflect your value in the market.
  6.  If you go all the way through the hiring process only to accept a counteroffer from your current employer, then the new employer is going to be unlikely to consider you for jobs with them in the future. So if it’s a company you’d like to work with in the future, then you might be shutting a door that’s worth keeping open.

Of course there are exceptions where accepting a counter offer makes sense and works out well. But more often than not, it has negative consequences. So if you’ve decided that it’s time to move on, then move on, but if it is purely just a pay rise you are after then negotiate it with your current employer on your own merits.