January 10, 2024

3 Reasons To Avoid Accepting A Counteroffer

Have you ever received a counteroffer from your employer? You handed them your resignation, and they presented you with an offer for more money, more benefits, a more flexible work schedule, or something similar. How did you respond? 

We coach our candidates to be extremely cautious of counteroffers. They are a rushed effort from an employer to keep their talent on board and rarely address the root reasons for your departure effectively. While there may be rare case in which accepting a counteroffer is the right thing to do, here are three reasons from executive recruiters why counteroffers should be avoided: 

The Illusion of Change:

Counteroffers promise long-term changes to your current role but only provide quick fixes. A recent survey by Employ found that compensation was the motivation for 37% of all job changes. On the surface, a counteroffer seems to fix this issue, as your employer may offer you a raise to incentivize you to stay. However, this would indicate that they already had the funds to pay you what you were worth to another organization, but refrained until they could not avoid it.  

Even if the counteroffer addresses one reason for your departure, the motivations behind a job switch are rarely simple. A counteroffer is usually unable to effectively address all the reasons for resignation.

Erosion of Trust

To put it simply, counteroffers make your workplace dynamic a little awkward. Once you accept a counteroffer, your organization’s perception of you may shift from loyal to opportunistic, even if they are grateful that you stayed. A decline in their perception of you may have adverse effects on your opportunities for advancement in your future with them.

Company Loyalty v. Self Interest:

Feeling loyalty and a sense of indebtedness to your current employer is completely normal. If you have been with them for any amount of time, you likely have created some personal connection with your coworkers that you are hesitant to let go of. This is when it is important to remind yourself that you have professional reasons for moving on that your coworkers, no matter how wonderful they are, cannot satisfy.  

Additionally, no one is as interested in your professional development as you are, which is why accepting a counteroffer can be a hinderance to long-term growth. Leadership may hesitate to promote someone whom they know has already seriously considered leaving, leaving you pigeonholed in your current role. 

Counteroffers often catch jobseekers at just the right time when fear of the unknown is setting in, urging them to ditch the new possibilities and stay put. There are instances when accepting a counteroffer may be the right thing to do for yourself, your career, or your family. But, before you accept, pause to ask yourself: does this counteroffer resolve the root issues of why I am leaving? If the answer is no, then take the leap of faith into the unknown. You will be glad you did! 

Jessie Miller

Jessie Miller

Jessie Miller is the Marketing & Media Specialist at ThinkingAhead. She supports the recruiting team in a variety of ways including managing social media, generating...

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