• Estimated read time: 5 mins
  • Date posted:05/12/2018
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People leave their jobs for all sorts of reasons. Once you hand in that resignation letter, it’s common to receive a counter offer. While you may be tempted to accept, it’s not always the best move. In fact, there are multiple reasons why you shouldn’t accept a counter offer from your current employer.

Here are our top 7 reasons:

  • You’re Leaving for a Reason
  • Your Work Life Will Change
  • You Know Your Value
  • The Trust is Broken
  • Money Isn’t Suddenly Available
  • Their Interests are Self-Motivated
  • You Don’t Want Regrets

Keep reading while we explore these in more detail. With any life changing moment, you need to be sure it’s the right move for you.

1. You’re Leaving for a Reason

Think about the reasons why you started looking to other roles. Chances are salary was an issue, but not the entire problem. Perhaps you felt you were stagnating, with few opportunities for advancement. You may have acknowledged that you’re unable to fulfil your potential. Whatever the reason is, money may be the only thing that changes with a counter offer.

How long until the other problems you identified resurface.

What will your situation be like in six months’ time?

You might find that management are taking advantage of you, piling on the pressure without appropriate compensation. They may even start seeking to replace you with someone who’ll just accept the workload without question.

If you do stay, you’re likely to regret your decision. 85% of employees who accept a counter offer end up leaving the company, voluntarily or involuntarily, within a year. That speaks volumes.

2. Your Work Life Will Change

What does the potential new employer offer that your current one does not?

Are they offering you a better work-life balance whereas your present company requires you to come in early and leave late each night?

Have they assured you that you’ll be working with a mentor while the current employer leaves you to figure things out on your own?

Do they provide better perks and benefits?

If these are things that matter to you and you’re reasonably sure your company won’t provide them, accepting the counter offer is probably not in your best interests.

3. You Know Your Value

Your CEO offers a pay increase, which could motivate you to stay.  Before you accept the counter offer, ask yourself why your original request for a raise was declined.

The most likely reason is that your organisation wanted to pay you less than you’re worth. The CEO was perfectly aware of the value you bring, but hoped that you were less informed. If you hadn’t made the first move by actively seeking or accepting a better role, would they still be taking advantage of you?

Do you want to remain with an employer who does not value you? One who only compensates Executives fairly when threatened with a resignation? This practice highlights a corporate culture that doesn’t support or reward its workforce.

4. The Trust is Broken

Even if you accept the counter offer, the company will never see you in the same light. Your resignation can be seen as a lack of commitment, which may result in the following:

  • Co-workers may not be as friendly and cooperative as before.
  • Legitimate requests for time off, such as a doctor’s appointment, may be regarded with suspicion.
  • You may be overlooked for important projects. Over time, this can have a serious impact on your career progress.
  • The company may start looking for your replacement. Even if they don’t go to that extreme, you may be the ‘first out’ if budget cuts ever affect the organisation.

Ultimately, the trust is broken. It can take years to properly rebuild trust, in which time you may see your peers progress while you remain at the same level.

5. Money Isn’t Suddenly Available

If money was a factor in your decision to leave, ask yourself why are they offering it to you now. Where did this money come from, and why didn’t they offer it before?

You also have to ask yourself whether you’re penalising yourself by accepting a raise now. Will you still be eligible for a bonus or raise in the future, or will you have to threaten to leave again to receive the compensation you deserve?

In all likelihood, the counter offer is not designed to keep you, but rather spare the company the cost of replacing you.

6. Their Interests are Self-Motivated

Recruiting and training new employees is one of the most significant business expenses. As mentioned previously, it can be more cost-effective for your organisation to retain you, rather than hiring and training a replacement. It’s important to try and figure out why your business wants to keep you, because this reveals whether they truly value you — or are just trying to save money.

Plus, if the company is only trying to retain you because it’s less expensive than finding a replacement, they’re unlikely to offer promotions or progression in the future.

7. You Don’t Want Regrets

Unless the original issues magically resolve themselves, you’re likely to regret your decision to stay. You might even spend your time wondering if things would be better elsewhere.

While no one can predict the future, exploring new possibilities can be worthwhile. You could make unprecedented progress in your career path. At the very least, you won’t be left wondering what would have happened if you had refused the counter offer and embraced new opportunities.

What to do instead

Although counter offers can be flattering, the risks often exceed the rewards.

Consider all your options carefully, and then proceed to do what’s right for you.


For more job search advice tailored to senior managers and executives…

* Fraser Dove International is a talent consultancy operating exclusively across the life sciences industry. While our roots lie in executive search, we provide more than the traditional recruitment services. Uniquely placed within the market, we have been providing cutting-edge talent solutions and insight to organisations at all stages of their journey – from start-up to established leaders – since 2013.