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“I handed my notice in yesterday and my employer counter offered with a 10% increase in my salary and one day working from home a month. I’m tempted to stay because it’s less risky than changing jobs and uprooting my career.”
You are right. It is the more comfortable choice and the less risky option in theory. However, the recruitment and staffing industry estimates that 80% of candidates who accept a counter offer leave their current employer within six months and up to 50% start looking again after just two. When you look at it this way – accepting a counter offer could be a case of just ripping the plaster off slowly. Below, we look into why these counter offer statistics are so high.
On average, one in two people who hand in their notice should expect to be counter offered.
Let’s look at this from a business perspective to understand why. If you left, your employer would have to find someone else (often on a higher salary than you), most likely have to pay a recruitment fee, and lose money by either overstretching or lacking in resources. As complimentary as a counter offer may seem to you, a business would rather keep employees by meeting their own needs than lose them.
What’s on the table in a counter offer?
In our experience, most of the time it’s more money but it can also include a more desirable working package including promised promotions, an increase in responsibilities, extra time off or flexible-working.
Should I consider a counter offer from my current employer?
Yes, you should. Though, counter offers should only be considered based on what is actually contracted there and then. Promises of how the role will change in the future – without any written, contractual backup, should be approached with caution as changes without this action don't usually happen.
Most crucially, you need to carefully consider whether the reason you wanted to leave your job is absolutely solved by the counter offer on the table. Most of the time people leave their jobs for reasons that cannot be resolved by a counter offer package including:
What problems does accepting a counter offer pose?
The paramount issue is that you’ve broken the trust with your hiring manager and your company. They know you’ve been looking elsewhere and this can limit growth and progression in the long term. Often, a counter offer pay rise can severely limit any pay increases in the years to come. Finally, if you’ve not been getting on with management before, will them knowing that you've interviewed elsewhere strengthen your relationship in the long run now?
Exercises you should practice before considering a counter offer
Bringing it together
Changing jobs is scary whether it’s the feeling in the pit of your stomach when leaving your current employer or the butterflies in your stomach when starting with a new one. However, it’s important to remember that both these queasy feelings are temporary. Whichever decision you go with, never accept a counter offer on the spot. Take the time to consider what it really means and understand that it should take longer than a day or a quick meeting with your boss to come to a decision.