Counter offers have become a lot more popular in the candidate driven market in which we operate in today. A counter offer is when you hand in your notice to your current employer and they offer you an improved salary/contract to stay.

Counter Offers - Should you take it or leave it?

To ensure you make the right decision, you firstly need to establish the reasons that you decided to look for another opportunity in the first place. These reasons can vary, so it's best to step back and consider why you're dissatisfied with your current job before shopping for a new one and make every effort to understand why you are considering the option to move.

The next step would be to arrange to meet with your boss and talk about changes that could make you happier, such as different assignments, more responsibility, flexible hours, more recognition or the possibility of a promotion - in addition to a wage raise. When you give your boss the opportunity to help you, your relationship can actually grow stronger. You should never position this as a threat; instead, you should go to your boss with a request for career advice. Ask the questions, ‘Where do you see my career going?’, ‘What do you think will be available for me in the future?’. Let your boss know that you are very satisfied where you are, but you want to do some long-range planning. Many people never think to have this kind of conversation, because they are afraid they won't like their boss's answer. Your approach will be a lot more successful if you have done a good job so far and had a good attitude. It all depends on your past performance reviews and where you are in your salary range. If you have received average reviews and you are in the midpoint in your salary range, you probably don't need to ask.

If your boss doesn't budge, it could be a great time to start looking for another job and if the offer is good enough, you will then be in a good position having made all the considerations to actually accept it. Whatever the reasons are for wanting to change jobs, you should analyze them and make every attempt to fix the issues you perceive before actually starting your job search.

So where does that leave you? With some issues that are not fixable – the deal-breakers. These are the reasons you went out and looked for a new job that better fits your career requirements or goals.

So why would you suddenly want to stay in your job just because your boss offered you more money?

Look at the logic behind the counter-offer. Of course, what you would like to do is accept it as flattery, a sign of our unrivalled importance and value to your employer, a definite signal that they will stretch to serious lengths to keep us.

What you should be thinking though, is that besides boosting your ego, your employer may have other reasons for counter-offering you. These may include:

  • Replacing an employee can be expensive
  • It might disrupt their budget to re-recruit at that time of year
  • They haven't got time to re-recruit right now
  • They want to have you cover while they hunt for your replacement
  • They want you to finish the project you are working on
  • They don't have the time to train someone new at the moment
  • Losing staff might reflect badly on your boss

Should I stay or should I go?

There is rarely a good reason to accept a counter-offer and stay where you are. You wanted to move, you have been through the recruitment process, you have been successful and you have been offered a job that meets your criteria. Think about these factors:

  • From the day of your resignation, your loyalty will always be in question
  • This lack of loyalty is likely to be an obstacle to future promotions
  • Your colleagues will look at you differently: after all, you don't really want to be there do you?
  • Your boss will probably start looking around for your replacement immediately - whether you stay or not
  • Why are they offering you what you deserve now, rather than before your resignation?
  • Has the real reason you resigned been adequately addressed?
  • How guilty do you really feel? After all, shouldn't you be putting yourself first? Would the company think twice about getting rid of you if they needed to?

Do not let an unexpected counter-offer stop you in your tracks. Take it in your stride, thank your employer for the opportunity and reaffirm your intention to leave.

However if you decide to stay, be on your toes, don't be naive. Just because you have accepted your counter offer doesn't mean your resignation has been forgotten. You are going to have to work extremely hard to win back your employer's trust. You will probably find you have to work harder than your colleagues to prove your company loyalty and worthiness as a long-term prospect. Your new post-resignation life with your old company is not going to be easy, and accepting a counter offer is definitely not the safe option!

The upside is that you will get more money and maybe different responsibilities and a position that may further your career, but there are more downsides. As studies show the average employee stays with his employer less than a year after accepting a counteroffer. No matter what the offer or counteroffer is, if the underlying job dissatisfaction issues are not addressed, then it doesn't make a difference.

To view all jobs available through Konnekt, click here.