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Should I Accept a Counter-offer?

Posted on 16th December 2019 by Parker Bridge

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If you’re highly experienced in your field or hold a crucial role for your employer, don’t be surprised if you are faced with a counter-offer after handing in your resignation. Whilst receiving a counter-offer may be flattering, accepting one is rarely the right decision for your career and here’s why.

Counter-offers Rarely Address Why You Resigned in the First Place

Research from our 2020 salary survey found that 20% of professionals stated that a lack of career development was their primary reason for looking for a new role. Internal development initiatives are often handled by HR, Training & Development or executive management. This means that a counter-offer provided by a direct manager can rarely address this issue. The danger of overlooking this and accepting a counter-offer is that your skills and experiences can stagnate due to a lack of ongoing career development fostered by your employer.

Our survey has also found that 16% of professionals were currently seeking a new role due to poor management at their current employer. This is another underlying factor that can be difficult to address with a counter-offer and the promise of change in how you are managed is hard to follow through with.

Is an Increase in Salary Worth it?

A counter-offer will likely include a salary increase and if you feel that you are underpaid, this may seem like a great solution, but you should ask yourself, “why did it take me resigning to be paid what I am worth?”

In fact, offering a raise as a counter to your resignation could be a cost-saving exercise as sourcing, recruiting, onboarding and training your replacement can be a significant business investment. If you have had a pay increase request denied in the past, this could be an indication that the employer was trying to avoid paying you the market rate – a trend that may continue in the future.

Your Loyalty Will Always be Questioned

One of the challenges of accepting a counter-offer is that your employer will likely question your loyalty for the remainder of your employment. Highly experienced and capable candidates may be overlooked for exciting new projects and even promotions due to a lack of trust after they accepted a counter-offer.

Do Most People Who Accept a Counter-offer Leave Anyway?

It is widely reported by recruiters that between 80% and 93% of people who accept a counter-offer leave after 12 to 18 months anyway – usually without a source cited. Realistically, we do not know how many people leave after accepting a counter-offer because it is difficult to measure. What we do know though is that accepting a new opportunity in a fresh environment can be great for your career. You will likely have the chance to meet and learn from new professionals, experience new methods of working and gain access to innovative systems and software; all of which can expand your skills and experiences and help to keep your career moving forward.

We hope this guide will help you come to an informed decision but if you’re not sure whether a specific job offer is right for you, check out our guide ‘Assessing a Job Offer’. Otherwise, feel free to review our job vacancies or sign up for our newsletter for great career advice.

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