Should you Accept a Counteroffer?

Should you accept a counteroffer

Should you stay? Or should you go? Receiving a counteroffer of employment from your current employer can pose this dilemma. It can question if you’re making the right career decision to leave the job, organization, and everything that comes with it. For some, it will be crystal clear, and there is no chance in hell they would accept. It can be difficult for others if they are leaving friendships, a company, and a job they’re invested in. Should you accept a counteroffer?

If valued by your manager, team, and organization, then why not accept a counteroffer? Especially if it comes in the form of an increased salary, retention fee, promotion, more responsibility, or future promises. Unfortunately, the statistics aren’t great for those who do accept counteroffers. More than 80% of employees who accept a counteroffer leave after 6 months (7 counteroffer statistics; Do 80% of people leave?). However, before you decide on accepting or rejecting the counteroffer, you need to factor in some things.

How will this impact my family?

Every career decision should factor in your family or significant other. Talk through any important career decisions with them as they are your biggest supporters. They know you best and might see things from a different perspective. Especially if they provide you with insight and ask questions, you hadn’t thought of. If the current organization forces a deadline of acceptance or rejection, don’t be in a rush to respond. Receiving an offer of promotion or a salary increase is great. However, the family won’t be excited for you if it means they have to relocate to Russia without you having consulted them. It’s important to include them in the decision-making process as they are on the journey with you.

Why am I receiving a salary increase/promotion when I am leaving, and not last month?

Where was this generous offer from your employer last week or month? It’s a fair question to ask. A professional development plan is standard in today’s work environment. Deliver to expectations, and you’ll achieve the rewards. Why would any employer hand out a pay rise or promotion because you’re a good person? You might not realize it, but the organization you’re potentially moving to is also presenting counteroffers to their valued employees who are about to leave. Be more surprised if they don’t counteroffer when you resign. Less might mean more!

Questions to ask should include:

  • Where did this extra money come from? Has your payrise been moved forward? If so, will you get a pay rise when it is due?
  • Suppose they are moving you onto a more high profile piece of work. Who does this impact? Will someone be moved off this piece of work? Will this cause friction?

Does the counteroffer address your reasons for wanting to leave?

More money, a promotion, or moved onto a more high-profile piece of work sounds great. Getting caught up in the counteroffer is easy to do. Especially when you have an open and friendly chat with management where you feel everything has been worked out. However, does the counteroffer address your actual reasons for wanting to leave? If the counteroffer doesn’t address your actual concerns, then why would you stay? If they seem genuine in wanting to resolve the issues and keep you on board, then be sure to get everything in writing. This will hold them to account for everything they propose to do. Otherwise, you will be in the 80% of employees who leave after 6 months.

Personal Experience of a Counteroffer


I was working in recruitment where I had no direct reporting manager and no team. Consequently, I had no day to day management and mentoring and no team to help me or bounce ideas off. At the same time, I was having success through building strong relationships with clients and candidates and earning a commission. I felt that I needed someone I could learn from and help point me in the right direction. I wanted to be the best recruitment consultant I could be.

The Counteroffer

A manager I had worked with previously approached me to come and join his recruitment team that he was setting up. It was a tempting offer as I respected him and had enjoyed working with him. Meanwhile, the Director of my organization advised me he was signing on a new manager. This would set things in motion to recruit a team to support me once the new manager joined. Additionally, he also presented me with a retention fee that I would receive in three months and send me on a business trip to a different branch. The business trip aimed to learn from one of the most successful consultants in the business.

The counteroffer from the Director was appealing, and I took the weekend to think it over. However, I went on Monday and gave him my official resignation. We had a brief discussion before he shook my hand and wished me well. In closing, he then offered me the opportunity to meet the new manager. I did want to know who the new manager would be and what they could offer. As mentioned, my primary reason for leaving the organization was the lack of a direct manager. The offer of meeting the manager, retention fee, and a business trip suddenly became more real. At that moment, I had a change of heart and took the resignation letter out of the Director’s hand, teared it up, and accepted the counteroffer.

The Outcome

I met the manager who was in the final stages of contract negotiations to join the organization. I felt we would work well together, and I looked forward to him starting. However, he ended up rejecting the contract at the last minute. He had accepted a promotion from his current employer. I was disappointed as I would have to wait even longer to get a manager.

Ultimately, I never regretted my decision to accept the counteroffer. I earned a good commission and enjoyed being part of the wider team. The branch had a good culture, and I had built great relationships with my client base, who continually gave me work. The organization that I was about to join closed down their business 12 months later. The counteroffer I accepted did not work out for the best. However, it could have been worse if I was looking for a new job 12 months later.

Should you accept the counteroffer?

The decision on whether you should accept a counteroffer or not comes down to you. Have you factored in your family? Will you still get a pay rise when it is due? Is the organization addressing your reasons for leaving? As a single man, I didn’t have to worry about my family. Three months wasn’t a long time to wait to receive the retention fee, and I felt assured the new manager would join. However, I didn’t (still don’t) have a crystal ball to see how everything would play out.

Suppose you are on the fence about whether to accept or reject a counteroffer. It’s always a good idea to approach the new organization with any questions you have or information you need. It’s in their best interests to help you out as much as possible. Once you’ve made a decision, let the other side down quickly and professionally. If for some reason, you sign the counteroffer, and it doesn’t work out. There is no point in being angry with the organization or management. You decided to stay and had the opportunity to leave. At the very least, you now know it’s time to leave and can do so without any regrets.

Visit The Career Quest to learn more in regards to career advice and coaching. If you are interested in reading some more recent blog posts, please click on how to know if you need to change jobs or 3 career lessons from 2020.


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