Grow Your Business. Grow Your Career.

Contact Us

Should You Accept a Counter Offer?

It’s a candidates’ market right now, especially in the finance and accounting world. As recruiters, we have access to career opportunities never posted to the public, and have relationships with top candidates who are not even active job seekers. In such a market, companies with opportunities are offering attractive packages; top salaries, benefits, incentives, exciting office culture, and/or flexibility. Conversely, companies with great employees want to keep them and are going to extended lengths to do so. Obviously, it’s much easier for a company (especially in the short-term) to keep the employees they have and avoid work disruption.

Enter the counter offer.

When a company wants to do everything in their power to keep an employee from resigning a counter offer is extended, adding incentives which previously were not part of their total employment package. Most often this means increased pay, but may also include added benefits, flexible schedules, or a promotion. Of course, the new incentives sound great and frequently have the intended outcome… the employee stays at their current job.

So, why not accept a counter offer? By accepting a counter offer you can stay in a job you know, with people you know, and now you have added to your compensation package. Change is hard. Sounds like a big win.
Not so fast....

Let’s take a look at the consequences of a counter offer.

  • There were reasons you decided to look at the new job opportunity. Those reasons are still there. Underlying issues remain, and most often are not resolved. Counter offers generally only address the issue of salary, which is rarely the reason people leave their job. A raise does not alleviate the systemic issues which caused you to look for a new role in the first place.

  • Generally, if the company is making you a counter offer you have been paid slightly to well below your skill set value. There is a cost to the company to fill your position. Replacing an existing employee has a real price – both monetarily and timewise - to a corporation.

  • People talk at the office. We all know that by the time you have accepted an offer at a new company, and then decided to remain in your current position - your coworkers have heard about your leaving, and then “not leaving”. They have probably heard about your current company sweetening the deal as well. The whole workplace dynamic of your team has now shifted.

  • Not only had you mentally checked-out of your current role, and mentally moved-on to the new opportunity, even if only temporarily, but now your current company has become less trustful. You resigned once, and returned for incentives. The relationship between you and your employer is on less solid ground than it was previously.

  • You’ll likely be out the door soon. Studies from the Wall Street Journal show that 85% of employees who accept counter offers leave the company within 6 months anyway. And, 90% are gone within the year.

For employees, reasons for looking into other job opportunities are beyond just the paycheck, and a counter offer rarely leads to a long-term solution.