Job Resource Guide

Dealing with Counteroffers

What are you really getting when they beg you to stay?

Quitting a job is never easy. Career changes are tough enough and the anxieties of leaving a comfortable job, friends, and environment for an unknown opportunity can easily cloud anyone’s judgment. What should you do when your current employer “muddies the waters” even more by asking you to stay?

A counteroffer is a lure from your current employer to get you to stay after you’ve announced your intentions to accept another job elsewhere. And, in recent years, counteroffers have practically become the norm.

If you are considering a counteroffer, remain focused on your primary objective. Why were you looking for another job, to begin with? So often times a counteroffer that promises more money never really remedies the real reasons for wanting to move on in the first place.

Apart from a short-term bandage on the problem, nothing will change within the company and when the dust settles you can find yourself back in the same old rut. Recruiters report that more than 80% of those who accept counter offers leave, begin looking for another job or are “let go” within six to twelve months after announcing their intentions.

Counteroffers are certainly flattering and make an employee question their initial decision to leave. But often times they are merely stall tactics used by bosses and companies to alleviate an upheaval a departing employee can cause.

What kind of company do you work for if you have to threaten to resign before they pay you what you’re worth?

The things they’ll say:

  • “You can’t leave, the department really needs you.”
  • “We were just about to give you a raise.”
  • “I didn’t know you were unhappy. Why didn’t you come to me sooner?”
  • “ What can we do to make things better?”

Again, stay focused on your decision and your opportunities.

You need to ask yourself:

  • What kind of company do you work for if you have to threaten to resign before they pay you what you’re worth?
  • Where did the money for the counteroffer come from? Is it your next raise or promotion just given early?
  • Are future opportunities limited now?
  • Will you have to threaten to leave again for another raise or promotion?

Well-managed companies rarely make counteroffers since they view their employment policies as fair and equitable.

If you do consider being “bought back,” obtain the details of the offer in writing, as well as a one-year “no cut” contract from the employer. If they refuse, as two-thirds of counteroffering employers do, your decision to leave is made.

Look at your current job and the new position as if you were unemployed, then make your decision based on which holds the most real potential. It’s probably the new job or you wouldn’t have accepted it in the first place.