We’ve seen a lot of candidates receive counter offers recently; the increasing lack of active candidates in the market means that employers are more eager than ever to hold on to their existing talent.

However, counter offers are usually a sticking plaster solution to whatever caused you to want to leave in the first place – therefore, accepting them probably isn’t in your best interests.

What are counter offers?

Firstly, let’s clarify – what exactly is a counter offer? When you hand in your notice in order to join another company and then your employer offers you a lot more money in an attmept to make you stay:- that is a counter offer.

They might do this for a number of reasons, and number one in the current market is avoiding the hassle and cost of hiring and training a replacement.

Why would you accept a counter off?

The biggest reason to say yes to a counter offer is, naturally, the money. A counter offer is likely to involve a much higher salary, and if money was the key reason for leaving in the first place then problem sorted!

It would also save you all the upheaval of starting somewhere new.

Why you shouldn’t accept a counter off

Well, whilst money might be a big motivator for you handing that resignation notice in in the first place, there’s another pretty big factor to consider – happiness. In fact, a Payscale review found that while 25% of people quit in search of a higher salary, 16% quit due to being unhappy at their current organisation – with those being the top two reasons for leaving their current employer.

Therefore, before you resign, make sure you really think through why you’re leaving. If it is purely a money issue, a counter offer might be fine. However, if it is anything other than money, then accepting a counter offer is unlikely to make you any happier with your work – maybe it just prolongs the inevitable, and if so, why wait to make that change and why potentially permanently close a door with the company that offered you a new job by rejecting them.

Also, consider your own personal worth – if your employer values your work at £35,000, yet you’re on an annual salary of £30,000 until you resign, do they really value you? They should really have been paying you that £35,000 already.

What will change?

You’ve already handed in your resignation once – that organisation will be more prepared for you to leave and start looking for a replacement, having that fact at the back of their minds. If you have a long notice period, maybe you’ll have to start training a new starter before you resign (for the 2nd time!), so that when you do engineer your departure they will have an internal replacement ready to go. Knowing that, and already being somewhat unhappy with your work, is it worth staying for a bit of extra money with that added on top?

Similarly, they might then see you as expendable, since handing in your resignation will damage your employer-employee relationship. When you leave once, you’ll inevitably be watched with suspicion for the rest of your time there. Plus, there are benefits that you would get at other companies that might now be more closed off; for example, career progression might be limited since they might perceive you as more eager to leave. Harvard Business Review found that about half of those who accept a counter offer leave within 12 months anyway, so clearly the underlying causes of job dissatisfaction aren’t being mitigated.

Finally, consider what opportunities are out there. Whatever your reasons in the first place, a new company might offer your faster career progression, travel opportunities, or training and development schemes that go beyond the higher salary that your current company offered you to stay. This change might be outside your comfort zone, but all of these exciting things will go a long way to changing that job dissatisfaction that you had.

So, should you accept a counter offer?

We can’t make that decision for you, and only you know the details of your current situation and why you wanted to leave in the first place. But, on balance, everything we’ve put forward today indicates that counter offers tend not to work out (see the above stat that half of them leave within a year anyway!). However, if you’re still unsure and looking for further advice, click  and someone will be in touch.

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