Maybe you expected it, or maybe it’s come out of the blue – but you handed in your notice, and your employer made a counter offer. What do you do?!

You might have been totally set on leaving before – but now you feel confused, torn, and unsure what to do. Don’t fear! We’ve explored the 5 questions you should ask yourself before you decide whether to accept or not.

1. Does the counter offer fix the issue that originally made me want to leave?

Sometimes, the reasons we look for a new job are simple – maybe we love our job, but we want a higher salary or additional benefits that aren’t available from our current employer. In these cases, maybe the counter offer is an opportunity worth thinking about!

However, if the counter offer doesn’t negate the issue that originally made you want to leave, it’s probably not a good idea to accept it. A raise or additional holiday might be tempting, but it won’t fix feelings of unappreciation, lack of autonomy, or a toxic company culture. It won’t make it easier to work with that annoying colleague, and it won’t make your job less stressful. In fact – your employer won’t forget you handed in your resignation, and it might make things even worse.

Ask yourself: Why did I want to leave originally? Do I still feel the same way?

2. Do I have a better offer on the table?

Maybe the counter offer matched the salary at your new role – but that’s not always the full story. Perhaps your new role is in an industry you’re really passionate about, or with a company you really admire; perhaps it’s an opportunity to take a step up that just wouldn’t be possible with your current employer. An increase in salary is nice, but most people would agree that job satisfaction can be equally as important to them.

Ask yourself: What are the pros of me taking this new opportunity? What are the cons?

3. If I accept, how long will I stay?

Up to 80% of people who accept a counter offer leave or are let go within a year.

If you accept, your future job security could be affected – if your employer needs to make redundancies in the near future, your name could be top of the list since you already expressed an interest in leaving.

The trust between you and your employer could be broken, and your loyalty might be in question, which means you could be passed over for promotion, and your colleagues may treat you differently, assuming that you no longer want to be there or care about your job (even if that isn’t true).

Ask yourself: Where do I want to be in 1 years time? 3 years?

4. Why has this counter offer been suggested?

Don’t forget a counter offer isn’t usually for your benefit – although it may be framed as such – and it’s worth thinking about your employers motivations behind it. Especially if you asked for a raise or extra benefits before – why did it take for you to threaten to leave, for them to grant you what you wanted?

It could be that…

  • They need time to look for your replacement
  • They need you to finish the project you are working on
  • They can’t afford to re-recruit right now
  • High staff turnover might reflect badly on them
  • They don’t have the time to train someone new right now

Ask yourself: Is this a genuine offer? Does this benefit me as much as the employer?

5. What do the people around me think?

Of course – whether to accept a counter offer is ultimately your decision, and you should be the one that makes it. But asking the opinions of people you trust – like your partner, family, friends, or a colleague you’re close with – can help you to make a firm decision.

Don’t fret if they have different answers – press them for why they feel that way. They might have spotted an opportunity you’ve overlooked – or maybe they’ve noticed how happy or unhappy your job really makes you. Thank them for their honest advice and compare it with your feelings.

In the end, this decision will be down to you, but that doesn’t stop you asking for opinions from those you trust: it might make your muddy decision a bit more black-and-white.

Ask yourself: Whose opinion do I trust on this? Do they agree with the same points I do?

Have you ever accepted a counter offer? How did it go for you? Join in the conversation over on our twitter page.


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