Why You Should Never Accept A Counteroffer

Often times throughout our career it becomes evident that it is time to make a change and look for a new job. Maybe your career growth is being hindered in your current role or you realized that you aren’t as passionate about the industry as you once were. Regardless of your motivation, navigating the process can be difficult.

After finding time to interview for new roles while maintaining productivity in your current role, you may receive an offer that is difficult to pass up; if you’ve decided to move on from your current job to greener pastures you now have the opportunity to do so. Once you decide to accept the new offer, the next step you must take is resigning from your current position, which is often done by giving a “two-weeks’ notice.”

When telling your employer that you’ve decided to move on, a few things can happen. Your boss might thank you for your contribution to the company and accept your two weeks’ notice and desire to move on or provide a counteroffer in hopes to retain you. While a counter offer may seem flattering in the moment, going back on your decision to resign and accept the counteroffer could be one of the worst moves of your career. Oliver Cooke, the North American director at international recruitment firm Selby Jennings, says, “If you’re a good performer in your business, the likelihood is your current employer will try to counteroffer (when you quit). You should be prepared for that.” He continues, “The reality is that they didn’t value you in the first place and they’re only thinking short term. You have to ask yourself: if they think you’re worth that now, why weren’t they paying you that earlier?”

In today’s competitive job market, counteroffers are becoming more frequent, especially due to the high cost of replacing employees. While a counteroffer might make you think that the company really wants you to stay, the offers typically provide more of a benefit to the company than the employee. Additionally, statistics from the National Employment Association show that 70 to 80 percent of people who accept counteroffers either leave or are let go within a year.

Deciding to quit your job, regardless of the reasons, is an emotional time. When presented with a counter offer, many might be tempted to accept due to their comfortability in their current role and the fear of the unknown. If you find yourself in this position, there are some important things to consider for your future:

  • Loyalty and Trust: Once you have expressed your desire to leave a company, leadership and management may feel betrayed after investing the time and money into training and retaining you. Even if they extend a counter offer, they may lose trust in you and as a result, when things go wrong, the blame is pinned on you. Additionally, if you accept their offer, any future raises or projects may be in jeopardy.
  • Benefits: If you’re looking for a new job, chances are money isn’t the only motivating factor. Many counteroffers, as mentioned, include an increased salary and benefits package but are often more beneficial to the company than the employee. Further, there is more to job satisfaction than just salary.
  • “Deal Breakers”: What was it that made you want to look for a new job? If you’ve expressed these desires to your employer, but they aren’t met in a timely manner, the cycle will continue if you stay.
  • Job Security: Once your loyalty is questioned and trust diminished, your job security will follow suit. If a company is looking to make cuts, you might be moved to the top of the list because you were considering leaving anyway.

Still not convinced? Ask yourself a couple questions before accepting:

  • What will change? Why were you looking for jobs in the first place? Is it a lack of career growth or passion? Maybe you’re simply looking for new opportunities for a change of scenery. Regardless of your reasons, it is important to remember why you decided to restart the job search.
  • Why now? Maybe you were promised a raise or promotion but your employer never followed through. When you express your desire to leave and you finally get that offer, it might be too little, too late. If they truly valued you, the raise or promotion would’ve been fulfilled sooner.

You know your career situation better than anyone else, so any decision should be made with that in mind. Accepting a counteroffer has its pitfalls, but you must be aware of the potential benefits that pursuing new opportunities can provide. It is common to take a short-term view once a counteroffer is presented, but it is important for you to consider a long-term perspective and the influence on the future of your career.

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