4 Reasons You Should Never Accept a Counter Offer From Your Employer

No matter how long you’ve worked for your employer, handing in your resignation letter is an uncomfortable move. But you know it’s a move in a better direction for your career and general wellbeing…

…until those thoughts are challenged by your boss’s counter offer.

Counter offers typically come in the form of a salary bump and a possible promotion in title. But more importantly, a counter offer is your employer’s response to the threat of re-filling a soon-to-be vacant position with a qualified candidate.

Of course, a counter offer may seem flattering at first, especially if your employer offers a substantial percentage increase in pay and promises to better tailor your role to your goals and interests.

“Ultimately, counter-offering is always a tactic that serves the employer’s best interest. In fact, an estimated 89% of employees who accept a counter offer end up leaving their employer within six months,” says Stephanie Staiano, CSS ProSearch Sales Director.

And among those comprising this statistic, many are laid off or fired.

The Ugly Truth About the Counter Offer Tactic

Although counter offers can be extremely tempting, here are several reasons you should never take a counter offer from your employer:

Counter offers benefit your employer; not you. Backfilling positions takes employers a heap of time, effort and money, particularly if the exiting employee is a specialist or occupies a high-performing role. Chances are that a counter offer is your employer’s way of buying time to refill your position with a qualified candidate—before they show you the door.

If you accept a counter offer, prepare for burned bridges. If you take your employer’s counter offer after accepting a role with another company, say goodbye to your chances at working for that company ever again. Not only will you burn that bridge—but you may get blacklisted by any recruiter involved in helping you land the new role.

You’ve already broken trust. Don’t let the instant gratification of a salary bump get the best of you. Once you’ve alerted your employer to your job search, all confidence in your professional loyalty and longevity dissipate. In fact, roughly 80% of senior executives cite diminished trust in employees who accept counter offers.

As soon as you show interest in leaving your organization, your relationship with your boss and even your coworkers will become strained.

A counter offer probably won’t change anything at your current job. If your employer offers you a pay raise, better perks or promises of “fixing” what you don’t like about your current role, ask yourself this: If I’m so valuable, why hadn’t they offered these things until now?

As the classic adage goes, they pay you what they think you’re worth. And perhaps your employer does believe you’re worth the counter offer’s package—but the problem is that they weren’t willing to compensate you fairly before.

And now that they see you as a flight risk, why would they deliver on their counter offer’s promises long-term?

The Bottom Line of Counter Offers

When weighing the pros and cons of your employer’s counter offer, consider the following questions:

  • What were the reasons I started looking for a new job in the first place?
  • Does my future employer see potential in me that my current employer doesn’t?
  • What will happen to my workplace reputation if I stay under these circumstances?
  • What will the counter offer realistically change besides my salary?
  • Will I be looking for a new position three, six, 12 months down the line?

While changing jobs is stressful, moving on to a position that better aligns with your career goals and personal wellbeing is always a good move—despite the desperation-fueled promises of a counter offer.

About CSS ProSearch

CSS ProSearch is a sales recruiting firm that places top sales and marketing talent for growing businesses in the healthcare, technology and consulting verticals.

Our sales recruiters take a consultative approach to recruiting, acting as a true partner in the success of both our clients and our talent. With over 50 years of combined experience, our team combines best-in-class recruiting practices, technology, research and innovative approaches to deliver exceptional service with every engagement. Learn more here.

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