You have been working for the same company for the past few years, had a good promotion and pay rise in that time but in your last appraisal it was clear that your salary and opportunities are going to stay stagnant for a while so you decide it’s time to move on. After a couple of months of interviews, rejections from both sides and a lot of soul searching, that “perfect” job in that “perfect” company is offered to you. You approach your manager to hand your notice in and the most unusual thing happens… they counter-offer you!!

Now as a recruiter, I have seen this happen plenty of times, some with a positive outcome, some not, but if you ever find yourself in this situation, what should you do? Only you can answer that question but here are some opinions and views on what you should consider:

Why am I being counter-offered?

Why is your boss now offering you everything they said they couldn’t? If you weren’t valuable enough to be given a raise or promotion or flexi hours before, why now? Is it just because your manager doesn’t want to deal with the work disruption your departure would create and have to recruit and train up a new employee? Or is it because they want to keep the company retention KPIs at a high level? And surely you should gain a promotion on merit rather than just because you handed your notice in?

Or is it because you are a highly regarded employee whom they will do anything to keep and they didn’t realise that you were looking to leave?

The options

You need to think about the long term and your reasons for wanting to move on in the first place. Was it purely for money reasons? If it was and you have been counter-offered more money, you might as well stay. But if it was for other reasons, surely you’re still going to be in the same situation; unengaged, unchallenged and frustrated. Yes you might have a little more money in your back pocket at the end of the month but you still won’t have the job satisfaction you wanted.

According to the National Employment Association, 80 percent of employees who decide to accept a counter-offer are no longer with the company six months later. This could be for all manner of reasons but think about this – could it be because the employee loses the trust of their employer (or vice versa) or could you become an outcast in the company after deciding to stay? (extreme I know but it can happen!)

Whatever happens and whatever you decide, counter-offers can quickly spiral out of control so make sure you are always thinking of the end game; think logically and objectively about the decisions in front of you, you don’t want to burn bridges with past, current or future employers and remember, which ever offer you decide to accept, you must be able to handle the consequences.