After accepting a new position with another company, the time comes for you to hand in your notice. That difficult decision could be made potentially more tricky by your manager making a counter-offer.

Now you’re in the middle of a bidding war, which can be a boost to your ego – or can it?

Counter offer: are they on the rise?

Research has found that counter job offers are on the rise, because of an ever-shrinking pool of top talent and ever-increasing salary expectations from staff. From speaking to candidates we know that feeling appreciated, along with a good salary and prospects for development, contributes to your sense of self-worth.

When a staff member hands in their notice, it seems a good idea for the employer to tempt them to stay by:

  • Promising an improved salary or job title
  • Telling you that you’re needed and valuable
  • Saying that a promotion and/or pay rise had been kept confidential until now
  • Changing the reporting structure
  • Setting up a meeting with the MD or CEO before your final decision

Deal or no deal?

Put simply, it’s cheaper and less disruptive to appease existing staff rather than hire new people, or fix any deep-seated problems within the company.

It’s time to examine your employer’s motives for suddenly offering you the things that could have prevented you from leaving in the first place. After all, you’ve thought long and hard about handing in your notice, so ask yourself this: will the short-term fixes on offer really be enough to keep you on?

Here’s another way of looking at it: a counter-offer can be seen as a panic measure to save face. Management might feel they’ve lost control, so this is really a power move to protect the company’s reputation – which could then put yours at risk.

Five reasons why accepting a counter-offer is a bad idea

  • Your boss may just be buying time before bringing in your replacement
  • Handing in your notice then changing your mind can be perceived as disloyal
  • ‘Disloyalty’ can affect your professional reputation – it’s a small world
  • Improved pay/perks/title/reports may not be commercially viable in the long term
  • Increased risk of redundancy, since you’ve already threatened to leave

Read our full guide here.

Counter-offer: six important questions to ask yourself

When you meet your manager to turn in your notice, ask yourself the following questions to prepare for a possible counter-offer:

  • Whose career is most important to this person, mine or theirs?
  • What are their motivations for wanting me to stay?
  • Why did I start looking for a new job in the first place?
  • Why is my boss offering me this counter-offer?
  • How will accepting this counter-offer affect my long-term career goals?
  • Comparing the current and new job, which one offers real potential for growth?

 Bonus stats: Research has found that a huge 80% of all employees who accept a counteroffer are no longer with that employer after one year – in fact, 60% find themselves back on the market within 36 weeks

What to do when you get a counter-offer?

Leave on good terms without burning bridges. Politely decline by saying that while you appreciate their offer, it’s time to move forward.

Staying in control of your career and choices means trusting that your first decision is the right one, so follow through with it and don’t look back.

Looking for more advice? Visit the candidate advice section of our blog to find out more useful hints and tips or contact us today.

Further reading

How to decide between multiple job offers

Job search mistakes

Counter-Offer Meeting