Blog and News

Counter Offers - Should you stay or should you go?

  • March 29, 2022

It is fair to say that over the last 12 months counter offers have become common within the recruitment process.  When you consider the costs involved with recruiting and onboarding a new employee, combined with severe candidate shortages we are currently facing, it is not surprising that up to 50% of employees who hand in their notice are counter offered

As an employee, it can be flattering to receive a counter offer, and it can be very tempting to stay put rather than risk a move at the moment. But is that the right thing to do?

The statistics around counter offers are staggering with 80% of candidates who accept a counter offer leaving within 6 months and around 90% within 12 months

The key to deciding whether to accept a counter offer is to think objectively – and long term. Here are some key things we think you should seriously consider before making your decision.

Why did you want to leave in the first place? Will accepting make you happy?

Although the money might seem like a good reason to stay right now – it might not be as appealing after a few months.

Think about your reasons for leaving – have these been addressed by the counter offer? Maybe you have a nightmare commute, maybe the role doesn’t challenge you, or you have a poor relationship with your colleagues. It is rarely solely about money, therefore consider whether your concerns are going to be met.

So accepting a counter offer purely for the financial benefits doesn’t mean that you won’t still feel dissatisfied in your role in a few months’ time. Keep in mind the reasons why you decided to resign in the first place and only accept a counteroffer if it resolves these issues.

What will your employer think?

Your resignation tells your employer that you’re unhappy, and once you make that known, there will always be a question mark hanging over you. Be mindful that loyalty and trust has been broken and will take time to rebuild.

Aside from putting a potential strain on your working relationship, they may also avoid favouring you above other, seemingly more committed, colleagues.  For example, promotion opportunities or big projects may be entrusted with someone else instead of you, and your job might be a little less secure.  Your employer may also be reluctant to invest in training opportunities which may affect your long-term career.

Are the reasons behind the counter offer in your best interest?

It may feel flattering, but consider the real motives behind the counter offer. Do your employers value you as an individual or is it easier and cheaper to retain you than to recruit and train a new member of staff?

It is worth considering whether you would have received this recognition of your hard work if you hadn’t handed in your notice, and if not – do you want to stay at a company that doesn’t reward its employees until they hand in their resignation.

Think about how you would react to a counter offer in advance.

It is a good idea to consider what you would do in the event of a counter offer. At Kirkland Associates when we are working with candidates we always ask candidates to think how they would feel if they were counter offered and how they would deal with.

Most people think long and hard about leaving their current firm and it is unlikely to be a decision that would have happened overnight. If you are faced with a counter offer and weren’t prepared for this, you find yourself faced with two career opportunities (the new firm and your current firm) with very little time to decide…. this is when wrong decisions can be made that can prove costly for your career. By being prepared and thinking this through carefully, you'll be better placed to make the right decision for your career.

For all these reasons and more, if you receive a counter offer when you hand in your notice make sure you’ve weighed up all the options first – and thought about your main motivations – before making any formal decisions.