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The Honest Guide to Considering a Job Counter Offer

Accept a counter offer from your current employer and there’s a 93% chance you will quit anyway within 18 months.

You can barely log on to LinkedIn without seeing this Wall Street Journal statistic on your newsfeed – often by a Recruiter bemoaning their candidate for turning down their fantastic new job offer to stay at their current employer.

What they fail to mention is that this survey was conducted back in the 1970s, when the world of work was a very different place to what it is today. (Source: Fast Track Recruitment)

Let me start this blog by stating that I have both accepted and turned down counter offers during my career to date and fully understand how stressful making a decision can be.

The truth is there is no one-size-fits-all answer to dealing with a counter offer. Deciding on the best course of action depends on a huge range of your circumstances: the pay, benefits and working hours offered by the current and potential employer, your family and childcare arrangements, travel and commuting, scope for career progression, your working environment, opportunities to diversify and learn new skills – I could go on for a while.

If you are in the situation where you have handed in your notice and been answered with an offer to stay where you are, the best advice is to ask for some time to think things over. Try to take emotion out of the equation and think logically before making a decision.

Here are a few things you need to consider before you decide whether to stay or go:

How Valuable Are You?

Think about why your current employer is making you a counter offer to stay. Is it because you are indispensable to the company’s future plans?

The rigmarole of replacing a member of staff (marketing the job vacancy, reading CVs, interviewing, re-interviewing, waiting on notice periods, sorting overtime for staff covering the additional workload, training, filling any skills gaps…) is a real drain on time and money.

Sometimes adding a bit extra to your salary is a simpler solution.

Why Did You Start Looking in the First Place?

Why did you start looking for a new job in the first place? Career advancement? Salary increase? New technologies? Change of circumstances? Being overqualified or under-utilised? Simply a change of scenery?

There are a whole host of reasons why people in the Tech industry are tempted to move jobs these days and it is always important to constantly remind yourself of what your motivators were when you first updated your CV and began applying. Can you achieve these goals with your current employer?

Are Things Actually Going to Change?

If you were looking for a new job purely for a salary increase, a counter offer on improved terms will probably be enough to convince you to stay.

If your reasons are more varied, will staying (albeit with a few more pounds in your pocket) give you the job satisfaction you are looking for?

Remember, unless pretty big changes are promised within the terms of your counter offer, you’ll be in same role, working with the same technologies, on the same projects, for the same people, in the same office.

How Will You Be Treated if You Stay?

Depending on your company’s (and your) discretion at handling the matter, it’s always important to contemplate how accepting a counter-offer will affect your relationship with your manager and your team - and also the perception of you in the workplace.

Will it be only a matter of time before your performance is scrutinised for how much additional value you are producing relative to your increase in salary? It may also cause unrest in the department if your team catch wind that you are on more than they are for doing the same job.

When the time comes for you to decide whether to stay or go, I encourage you to think long and hard. If your employer makes you a counter offer, ask for some time to think it over rather than making a snap emotional decision.

Speak to a friend, family member or colleague you trust and weigh up the pros and cons of each decision.

Think about your career aspirations and whether you can achieve them with your current employer. If you can, then maybe take them up on their offer, but if a change to your personal and professional life is what you need then it’s time for a change.


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