You’ve been offered the new job, accepted and you’ve handed in your notice. Well done, the hard work is over…until a counter-offer is made by your current employers. Now what? Read on to find out more about how to manage a counter-offer.


What is a counter-offer?

This is when your current employer makes an offer to entice you to stay with the company. It’s a common scenario to find yourself in when you’ve resigned from a role. A counter-offer can come in different forms:

  • Pay-rise or salary review
  • Promotional opportunities
  • Change in job role/title
  • Promises to change the structure of the team/organisation
  • General feedback on how you’re a much needed, valued member of the team


What to do when a counter-offer has been made?

It is vital you weigh up the pros and cons of staying with your current employers, as you would when accepting an offer of a position from a new company. There are a number of questions you should ask yourself before making any decisions:

  • What were my motivations for seeking a new role in the first place?
  • Are these issues/concerns ones that could be rectified with a bigger salary/change in job title/promise of more responsibility etc.?
  • Why has this offer not been made prior to me handing in my notice?
  • Why has my boss made this counter-offer? Why do they want me to stay?
  • My boss knows I have been job searching – how will this affect the trust between us?
  • How does my current role (and counter-offer) compare to the new job? Which opportunity is going to offer me the most growth?
  • Will accepting the counter-offer be detrimental to my career progression in the long-term?


Why do employers make counter-offers?

There are a few reasons why your current employers may make you a counter offer:

  • It’s a convenient, low-cost way of keeping staff members happy
  • There’s often a lack of good talent around, especially for the more niche roles, so it’s easier (and cheaper) for an organisation to retain their current employees
  • They are often made on a whim and can be seen as a ‘buying time’ exercise whilst looking for a potential replacement


Research shows that employees who accept their counter offers are back on the market within 18 months, looking for another role. The diagram below outlines this:


counter offer chart


How do you manage the process of a counter-offer?

Once you’ve done your research, weighed up the pros and cons and worked out that you want to take the external role, it’s time to let your current employers know. Now is the time for you to reiterate how much you’ve enjoyed working with them, thank them for their support and their offer, but you are going to stick with your decision to take the new role. Remain firm but avoid burning bridges with them, there is very little point ending your employment on a sour note.


The counter-offer can be a tricky situation to handle at times but you need to put yourself first and make the right decision to advance your career. Good luck with your new role!

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