Should I Accept A Counter Offer From My Current Employer?

The Complete Guide To Navigating A Counter Offer

So you’ve received a counter offer from your current employer (soon-to-be-ex employer). This means you’ve accepted a new job and handed in your notice; congratulations! But it’s not over yet. 

When you receive your counter offer it can be tempting to stay. After all it’s no small task saying farewell to the colleagues you’ve worked with and the job you’ve known for years. But if you’re at the stage where you’re considering accepting a counter, we’re here to discuss why it’s you should never accept a counter offer

With every candidate we work with at Dynamic, we discuss what to expect from a counter offer: Because counter offers are all fundamentally the same. 


What is a Counter Offer?

A counter offer is an offer from your current employer to contend with your new job offer: But in reality they’re a bit more complicated than that.

The majority of counter offers we see are typically financial, as the simplest solution for an employer or manager is to throw more money at the problem. But they can also be promises of promotion opportunities: support for training and certifications, the opportunity to work on new technologies, more responsibilities, less responsibilities, additional support in your role…

Whatever your employer thinks they need to promise to make you stay.


What A Counter Offer From Your Current Employer Means.

A counter offer may seem like your employer recognising your worth and the worth of the work you do: But the truth is that a counter offer is your manager’s attempt to stall you leaving for a few months, while they hire your replacement.

To understand what a counter offer is, it’s important to be aware of the reasons behind the counter offer: 

What is a Counter Offer - Explained


Should I Tell My New Employer About a Counter Offer?

It’s up to you to decide whether to tell your new employer about a counter offer from your current one. But first you should think about what you’re trying to achieve with this. 

You don’t want it to seem like you are attempting to use this counter offer to negotiate yourself a better job offer from your new employer. This is something we would advise against. Hopefully, your relationship with your employer will hopefully be a long and rewarding one; and this is one potential way to sour your relationship with your employer before it has even begun.  

However, if you’ve already declined your counter offer then feel free. Your new employer will appreciate your honesty and transparency; as well as your commitment to your new job.


Should I Accept a Counter Offer?

In short, no. It’s very rare that we see a situation in which you should accept a counter offer. Counter offers rarely ever address your actual reasons for wanting to leave, and most employers try to make you happy by simply offering you more money.

The first step we advise to candidates we speak to who are considering leaving their job is going to your employer and having an honest conversation with them. Tell them that you’re thinking of leaving and what would need to change to make you stay; a pay rise, opportunities for progression, or more support. 

Either you’ll receive the desired result and get what you want, or you can be certain in your desire to leave. And when you are given the counter offer, you will know your grievances are only being addressed because you are forcing their hand. While this can feel like a win, it leads to its own set of problems later down the line.

  • Training and development opportunities.
    Opportunities to work with new technologies and learn new skills may be promised as part of your counter offer. If your employer is choosing who to train to use new technology, learn new software or head up a new project, your name will be at the bottom of the pile. Employers typically invest in employees when they will see the returns on their investment, and you’re already shown you’ve no problem with forcing them to pay you more: and if it’s worked for you once, what’s stopping you from repeating it in the future to further increase your salary
  • Future promotions? Think again.
    The fact you almost left will be held against you, making any further career progression difficult at your current company. Because if you do leave within the year (as 90% of people do), you’ll also be even harder to replace.
  • Using a counter offer as leverage won’t help you in the long run.
    If you try to use an offer from a new employer as leverage to get a counter offer, you’re showing that you’re not completely committed to your current employer, and that you’re forcing them to  pay you more money than they think you’re worth. This can mean your next pay rise or promotion isn’t going to come anytime soon. Not only that, if your current company hits a difficult time and has to let people go, you will be one of the first people made redundant.
  • You will damage your relationship with the company that offered you the new job.
    You may want to work for them in the future and the digital marketing industry is a small world. Even if you don’t want to work for that company again, the person who offered you the role may move to a company you do want to work for in the future. 
  • Your employer will still look for your replacement.
    Replacing you can be the cheaper option overall for your employer. In the UK it is illegal for your employer to prevent you from discussing your salary with your coworkers: And If you are suddenly being paid £5,000, £10,000 or £15,000 more than your peers, they may be asking for their own raises shortly, using yours as justification.
    80% of people who accept a counter offer end up leaving within six months. The most common reason being that while an increased salary can tempt you to stay, the fundamental reasons for you leaving won’t be addressed. Employers know this and use a counter offer as a stopgap measure, while they look for your replacement.
  • Remember the reasons you were leaving in the first place.
    If you’re working with a recruiter, think back to your first conversation. Does the counter offer solve the issues that led to you searching for your new job in the first place? This should tell you if your problems are actually being addressed in a meaningful way by your employer. 
  • If you’re working with a recruiter, speak to them.
    If you out of the blue accept a counter offer without discussing with your recruiter, it could sour your relationship with them and mean they are less likely to reach out to you about future career opportunities.


How to Decline a Counter Offer From Your Current Employer

When you resign, explain in clear terms why you’re leaving. Whatever your new employer is offering that your soon-to-be-ex employer can’t match; technologies you will get to work with, the size of the projects you’ll work on or the career progression opportunities.

When you resign, your manager’s first instinct isn’t to think about how this is a positive opportunity for you. They are more likely to be concerned about how your departure is going to affect them. So it’s up to you to make clear your desire to leave. That while you’ve appreciated your time there, your decision has been made.

It’s not uncommon to receive more than one counter offer, especially if you have a long notice period. It is possible to reduce the length of a notice period, and if you’ve just rejected a counter offer and solidified your desire to leave, there’s no better time to negotiate.

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