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Why You Should NEVER Take a Counter-offer (80% of the time)

What is a counteroffer?

You’ve nailed the interview(s), you’ve had a call from your Recruitment Consultant with the great news that the new company formally want to offer you the position.

Brilliant, your hard work has paid off!

All you must do is hand in your notice which can be daunting. You have a sigh of relief after you’ve handed in your notice. Then you get called into your current boss’ office, you’re offered a counter-offer, usually more money or a promotion to stay.

You’re torn, what do you do now?

Here are 6 reasons why you should never take a counter-offer

Recognise your worth

Why has it taken for you to resign to prompt your employer to give you the promotion, responsibility or pay rise you have been asking for? Professional development should be rewarded due to hard work and not out of fear of losing staff. The culture of your workplace could not be rewarding your hard work. You’ll soon be in the same situation again.

Broken trust

You’ve essentially fired your Manager. You have expressed your desire to leave and your Manager is unlikely to completely trust you again.

Money doesn’t solve your problems

Unfortunately, money will not make your work environment nicer, give you better projects to work on or remove that Sunday night fear. You’ll just be able to buy slightly more expensive coffee to catch your tears at work. This short-term gain most likely won’t pay off in the long run. Many promises made during the counteroffer period do not come to fruition and you may find yourself even more frustrated and eager to leave.

You’ll end up leaving

80% of candidates who accept a counteroffer from their current employer end up leaving within 6 months. Not only will you leave but you’ll have damaged your reputation with your employer and burnt bridges. Going all the way to offer stage with a new employer, only to turn them down to stay where you are a waste of everyone’s time. Are they likely to give you that same offer 6 months down the road – employers will remember that you jilted them at the altar!

Your Manager is buying time (and maybe their job security)

Depending on your Manager, they might not care if you leave, they’re more worried about you walking out and there being no one to replace you. The cost of no one in your role can be very costly and it can also reflect poorly on a Manager if they are losing a valued team member.

Rock the boat

Once your office or co-workers get a whiff of your £5 or 10k pay rise the company environment may be damaged. Resentment could grow from your co-workers. They may be thinking, ‘Oh, Susan handed in her notice and got an amazing pay rise, maybe I should do that too…’

Expectations will also be raised in terms of what you are expected to deliver – if you are given a pay increase and improved conditions, your existing employer will have significantly increased expectations about repaying them, which can lead to friction.


It’s important to remember why you were planning on leaving in the first place. Appreciate the value of taking this new opportunity. There were reasons you were leaving your current employer, create a pros and cons list of starting fresh at a new company. One thing that is important during this period is to talk to your Recruitment Consultant. Let them know your thoughts on this negotiation period they should be there to advise and recognise which would be the best opportunity for you.

It can be a scary process changing jobs which is why most people can see the easier option of simply staying where they are.  Workers who change jobs earn an average pay raise of £2,066 per year or 5.2% (compared to the 2.9% national average) – when did you last get a pay rise? – Glassdoor Economic Research, Why Do Workers Quit? The Factors That Predict Employee Turnover February 2017.

Benefits of changing jobs when you’re unhappy

A reminder of why you were changing your job in the first place.

•    Your mood

It will feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. When you’re unhappy, it can affect not only your mood in work, but your life outside of work. Your mood affects the people around you. Changing jobs can help improve your relationships with family and friends.

•    Fresh start

When you’re interested in changing your job, it’s usually to either get away from negativity or you’re attracted by opportunity. This could be an opportunity to take a step up in the career ladder and I don’t necessarily mean more money, I mean more responsibility, career development, new projects, better experience – an overall better career path.

•    Stay sharp

When you change your job, you need to learn to adapt to new work environments, face new challenges and possibly even work with new technologies. You’ll meet more people in your industry and broaden your knowledge in your sector.

•    Better job

In addition, to feeling more valued, this could be an opportunity to achieve a far better remuneration package. Whether that means a better pension, less travel, additional training more flexible working or bonus structure to name a few. This could give you overall better satisfaction in work.

If you’re currently looking for a job or maybe you’re considering a change it is important that you do the following things to ensure you are making the best move for your career.

1.    Create a list

Create a list of reasons why you want to change jobs. This will affirm whether you’re making the right decision to change your job and what you are looking for in a career move. This will prevent any embarrassment for yourself and the recruitment consultant if you end up accepting a counteroffer and take it because of last-minute promises.   

2.    Find a niche recruiter in your sector

This is important for a number of reasons. They will have expert market knowledge on which companies are good to work for, who is currently recruiting, and who will be someone to fight your corner throughout the job search process.

3.    Glassdoor is your friend

If your recruitment consultant suggests a company you haven’t heard of, or even if you have. Check out their Glassdoor reviews. It’s important that you’re moving to a company where things will get better, not a toxic environment where the staff are unhappy in their jobs.

Learn more about job searching in Northern Ireland

If you’re not looking for a job but would like to learn local professionals’ career stories and know what’s going on in the market in Northern Ireland? Why not listen to our career podcasts

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