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  • Writer's pictureBlue Bull Recruitment

The Risks and Rewards around Counteroffers

Updated: Apr 20, 2023

As a recruiter, I've seen many candidates struggle with the decision of whether to accept a counteroffer from their current employer or move forward with a new opportunity. While it can be tempting to stay where you are with a higher salary or better benefits, there are also risks involved. It probably feels like 'Home', especially if you have been in your current role for a number of years.

Some of the reasons we hear from candidates about why they are looking for a new role:

  • Lack of career development

  • Poor management

  • Personal reasons / Change of circumstances

  • Low salary or benefits

  • Unhealthy work culture

  • Work-Life balance

  • Lack of job security

  • Limited job satisfaction

  • Commute or lack of flexibility

  • Health concerns

Here's what you need to know:

Firstly, accepting a counteroffer could damage your reputation with both your current and potential future employer. Your current employer may see you as disloyal for seeking employment elsewhere and not approaching them in the first instance if you felt there were issues or you were not being given the opportunity to progress.

Your potential future employer may question your commitment and loyalty to their organisation if you delay accepting their offer. You may not necessarily tell them you have received a counteroffer but if you come across as keen as mustard during your interview process and then delay for 4 or 5 days at the offer stage, they may wonder what has changed.

Additionally, a counteroffer may only be a short-term solution. While a higher salary or better benefits may seem appealing at first, it's important to consider the long-term prospects of your career.

  • Will your role or responsibilities change?

  • Will you have opportunities for growth and advancement?

  • Were the reasons you started to search for another job something that can be changed or mitigated by a higher salary?

On the other hand, there are some potential benefits to accepting a counteroffer.

You may be able to negotiate better terms with your current employer and improve your work-life balance or job satisfaction. Additionally, if you have a strong relationship with your current employer and feel valued within the company, it may make sense to stay put.

Ultimately, the decision to accept or decline a counteroffer should be based on your personal career goals and priorities. Why did you want to leave? Will your current employer stick to your goals and help you where required?

As a recruiter, I always advise my candidates to carefully consider all factors before making a decision. We discuss possible counteroffers at a very early stage so the candidate has some time to prepare for that possibility and so it doesn't take them by surprise if a counteroffer does come.

If you do decide to accept a counteroffer, be sure to communicate openly and honestly with both your current and potential future employer to maintain professional relationships. Just because you turn down a job offer for a counteroffer doesn't mean you have totally burnt your bridges with the potential new employer as long you keep communication honest and open.

One thing I have witnessed over the years is that not all counteroffers come with good intentions. I have seen candidates search for a new role because they feel undervalued, overworked, they haven't had a pay rise in 5 years and the progression they were promised hasn't been discussed. When they accept a counteroffer for a higher salary and growth plan, they don't always materialise.

One candidate accepted a counteroffer and within a week she was doing double her previous workload and her boss frequently reminded her that she was being paid more now so needed to take on extra responsibilities.

I always say to really think about the reasons (all the reasons - even silly little things, because they all build up) why they wanted to look for a new job and if they feel their employer would really change if they were to accept a counteroffer. Also, your gut instinct is usually the right one.

Leaving a job for a new one can be daunting, scary and worrying. It can also be like breaking the chains to freedom, exhilarating and a chance to really make a difference. Do you want to plod along or do you want to soar? Where is the best place for YOU?


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