5 Reasons You Should NEVER Accept a Counter-Offer

You’ve just been counter offered – very flattering. Two companies battling it out in a bidding war for you and in today’s climate, you’d be mad not to consider it right? Well, I wouldn’t be so sure – four out of five employees who accept a counter offer are gone within a year!

So why are the odds stacked so heavily against you?

1. Your current employer is looking after themselves

As a general rule of thumb, the counter offer is a temporary means to protect the business. Replacing an employee is costly and time consuming. Why do you think HR teams strategise so heavily around retention, talent pipelining and succession planning? What’s more, your resignation looks bad on your manager.

2. The risk factor

In the eyes of the business, you are now a high risk employee – you’ve threatened to quit once and there will undoubtedly be concerns that you will again. More importantly, that ‘disloyalty’ you’ve shown the business will be hard to shrug off and they are likely to be keeping an eye on the market for your replacement.

3. Your reasons for leaving won’t change

Generally speaking, most counter offers will come in the form of an uplift in salary, but is that enough? Your fundamental reasons for wanting to leave the business remain – you’re under valued, there isn’t any scope for progression or the senior leadership team stifle your creativity to make change. Issues like this can’t be resolved with a quick cash injection so expect to be disappointed.

4. Your employer has been backed into a corner

“we really respect you as a valued member of the team”… “we don’t want to lose you” … “we’ll match whatever the other business are offering you”. Great, your managers really do care – or, rather, it’s taken a resignation for them to show their appreciation for all of your hard work and loyalty over the years…

5. Good companies don’t make counter offers

Good companies rarely make counter offers. They believe that they treat their employees fairly and are likely to support in your future endeavours.

So when it comes to a counter offer, take a moment to wade through the flattery and take a reality check. It takes more than a few quid to enrich your job satisfaction, and, if your only motivation for leaving is money…then you really shouldn’t be in the market for a new job!

Rob Holdstock

Written by , Consultant

Rob joined Oasis HR in 2011 - specialising in the management of mid-senior level HR vacancies within the retail, media and online digital space. He graduated from the University of Hertfordshire majoring in English Literature and is a self-taught singer/guitarist. Outside of work, Rob tries to keep fit (with the assistance of his dog ‘peanut’) and can be found either socialising with friends or in the shower, singing into a bottle of shower gel.

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7 Responses to “5 Reasons You Should NEVER Accept a Counter-Offer”

  1. jon lavelle

    Is it just me, or is the right hand side of this article ‘cut off’? – Jon

    • oasishr

      Hi Jon,
      It shouldn’t be? Perhaps try opening it in a different browser as that’s the first I have heard with there being an issue.
      Oasis HR

  2. Gene Johnson

    Nice little read, Robert. It makes sense, too. I was thinking, however, about HiPos and when they opt to leave. Research shows that most who go are never asked to stay by their employers. So, although it’s last minute, a counter-offer could reflect the employer’s sudden realisation that their golden goose is about to fly off. Probably shouldn’t change your mind, as you say, but employers just aren’t that good at recognising their talent until it’s too late. Perhaps a clarion call to manage talent better and more proactively?

  3. Ivy Avila

    Great blog – as an employer I have found that making a counter offer rarely pays off to the company, either, for similar reasons to what you are talking about.

  4. druedeangelis

    In 13 plus years of recruiting, there have been two times that I advised candidates to accept counteroffers. Both cases, they were given opportunities to own franchises of the business rather than being promoted within or given more money. The analogy that makes the most sense is that of a spouse who advises their loved one that they have found someone else they want to be with. No amount of coaxing alleviates the broken trust and gives them assurance that they’re happy and not still open to new opportunities. Ultimately, this is a failure of the company to keep their talented people engaged and careers progressing.

  5. Eric R. Derby

    I think your 4 or 5 number is a bit low. In my experience 98% of people that accept counter offers are gone within a year. One person I know was offered a different job working for a different manager (with no salary change!). That was the only one that worked. But you got the reasons right on.


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