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The Counter-Offer Dilemma - Should I Stay or Should I Go?

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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

​As a candidate you have gone through a recruitment process and have been successful but now your current employer has proposed a counter-offer to entice you to stay. Counter-offers can take many forms such as a higher salary or promotion or a combination of both.

Our Regional Recruitment Manager, Joanne Foley discusses what to do if you receive a counter-offer.

“It is very flattering to receive a counter offer from your current employer. You are likely to feel valued and subsequently you may consider staying despite having gone through a lengthy recruitment process and accepting another role. However, it is important to realise at this stage that it has been proven that 80% of people who accept a counter-offer will leave within 6-12 months of accepting.”

Why do people leave within 6-12 months of accepting a counter-offer?

“There are a number of reasons why this may happen. There was obviously a reason you decided to look for a new role and this is rarely based on salary. By staying where you are, the reasons which made you look in the first place will remain.

Even if your motivation for moving was monetary based and your current employer increases your salary to your desired level, you need to question where this extra money is coming from. Your annual bonus or next salary review perhaps? You have also alerted your current employer to the fact that you are not happy there and your loyalty will now be in question and hence they will initiate the search for your replacement.”

Are counter offers common?

“Counter offers are generally a reflection of what is happening in the economy at a given time. We have just gone through a global pandemic where most employees had to take a pay cut or did not receive pay increases over the past few years. Therefore, when an employee threatens to leave, employers now have money in reserve to increase their salaries to the level they should be at.”

But what if my employer needs me?

“If your current employer needs you so badly, why are they only recognising your value now that you have threatened to leave? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that it may not suit them right now to go through the arduous process of finding your replacement. It would be much easier and convenient for them to give you a better offer to get you to stay. They can then find your replacement at a time that suits them. “

Is it really such a bad idea to accept?

“In most cases, yes. Making a decision to leave and going through a recruitment process in which you were successful requires effort and is likely not a decision you made lightly. Also will you be comfortable working for an employer you have just made aware that were considering leaving? Your loyalty is now in question with both your employer and your peers.

You have also burned your bridges with another company that was obviously a good fit for you and they will not be likely to hire you when you are looking again in 12 months’ time.”

But all I need is a salary raise or promotion. Should I use another offer to get this?

“No, as doing this is usually quite transparent and playing one employer off against another rarely results in a favourable outcome. You will potentially destroy your reputation with not one but two employers. If you would be quite happy to remain in your current workplace but feel that you deserve a higher salary or promotion, speak to your employer about this. Do your market research and find out what the current rate for someone in your position is. Make a list of your achievements and why you should be considered for the next promotion. If your employer cannot increase your salary or there are no opportunities for growth, then it is advisable to start looking elsewhere.”

What should I do?

“If your current employer offers you more money or a promotion after you have handed in your notice, thank them but affirm your decision to leave. A good employer, while they may not want to lose you, will respect your decision and in turn, respect you. Remind yourself of the reasons you decided to move in the first place and the counter-offer will become irrelevant.”