Charlotte Newton
Charlotte Newton
Associate Director

Articles From the Team

Should you accept a counter offer?

It’s quite easy to be flattered by a counter offer - but should you be?

In order to answer this question, we need to look at why firms counter offer.

It’s often easier, and cheaper, to keep a current member of staff than to replace them. You know all of the systems, you’ve received all your training, and you are familiar with the firm’s clients. Furthermore, your colleagues have previous experience of working with you, and you are therefore a ‘known entity’ in comparison to a newly-employed candidate. Hiring a replacement takes time, and there is an associated uncertainty of how long it will take for a suitable replacement to be found (if at all!). Firms are also likely to be keen to retain candidates to avoid them working for a competitor. For at least these reasons, a firm may well consider counter offering in response to finding out an employee plans to leave.

But, is accepting a counter off a good idea?

At the point of even being given a counter offer, your firm knows you have at least considered leaving. The firm may therefore question your loyalty and dedication, despite the counter offer.

Another question to ask is: where was the money before? Consider why it has required your resignation to force your firm’s hand into offering you a payrise. What was the reason for your firm not simply offering you the rise, which they are now prepared to give you, before you resigned? If you were truly valued as an employee, and your firm genuinely cared about you, should you not have received this rise in the course of your normal duties? Consider, also, how likely you think your firm are to further increase your salary down the line (e.g. your next pay review), particularly in view of the firm’s track record of previously ‘underpaying’ you.

Also worth remembering is, at the point of considering a counter offer, have all of the issues which previously influenced your decision to resign been alleviated? Can you be certain that the issues will be dealt with? The counter offer will not fix any other issues, and is simply a last ditch effort to ‘buy’ your agreement.

In our experience, the mere presence of a counter offer indicates that an employee was previously paid less than the firm thought they were worth. This, not unreasonably, may be considered to be breach of trust by the employee.

In our experience, accepting a counter offer likely only delays the inevitable. Fundamental issues are unlikely to be fixed by acceptance of a counter offer and, generally speaking, employees are still likely to eventually leave, albeit slightly later than would otherwise be the case.

Our advice would always be to remember why you want to leave your current role, irrespective of any possible counter offer. Don’t be flattered by the counter offer, and remember that, if your firm really valued you, your resignation would not have been required to get the pay rise!

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