When you're unhappy with your job, the temptation to look for a new one can be strong. But what if your employer offers you a counteroffer after you turn in your letter of resignation? Should you accept it?
In this blog post, we'll explore the pros and cons of accepting a counteroffer from your current employer. We'll help you weigh the options and make the best decision for you and your career.
What is a Counteroffer?
A counteroffer is an offer made by an employer in response to an employee's resignation. The employer may try to keep the employee by offering a higher salary, more vacation days, or other benefits.
There are a few reasons why employers might make counteroffers to employees:
- The employer doesn't want to lose a good employee.
- The employer wants to avoid the costs of turnover and the hassle of recruiting and training a new employee.
- The employer is worried that other employees will be discouraged if they see that someone was able to negotiate a higher salary by threatening to leave.
Now that we've answered the question, "what is a counteroffer?" let's explore some of the pros and cons of accepting one.
The Pros of Counteroffers
There are a few potential benefits to accepting a counteroffer from your current employer.
One of the biggest advantages of staying with your current company is that you're already familiar with the work, the culture, and your colleagues. If you've been with the company for a while, you know how things operate and what to expect.
Sense of Worth
It can be flattering to have your employer recognize your value and try to keep you with an attractive counteroffer. This can give you a boost of confidence and make you feel good about your work.
Avoiding the Stress of Change
Changing jobs is a big decision. It can be stressful to think about starting over at a new company, learning the ropes, and getting to know new people. If you're happy with your current job but just want a little more money, it might be easier to stay put.
Of course, one of the biggest advantages of accepting a counteroffer is that you have the potential to earn more money.
If your current employer wasn't paying you what you're worth, a strong financial counteroffer is a chance to get the increase in salary you deserve.
The Cons of Counteroffers
Before you accept a counteroffer, it's important to be aware of the potential downsides.
The Underlying Issues Haven't Been Resolved
If you're unhappy with your current job, it's likely because some underlying issues need to be addressed.
Maybe you're not being paid enough, or you don't feel like you have room to grow in your career. If these issues aren't resolved, you'll likely find yourself unhappy at your job again soon after accepting a counteroffer.
Your Loyalty Will Be Called Into Question
Once you've put in your notice and your employer makes a counteroffer, your loyalty to the company is likely to be questioned. Your boss may wonder if you're committed to the company, or if you'll start looking for new job opportunities as soon as a better offer comes along.
You Have Less Job Security
If you accept a counteroffer and then things don't work out, you may find yourself in a difficult position. Because you've already put in your notice, your employer may be more likely to let you go if they decide they need to make cuts.
Read More: 6 Tips to Improve Your Job Security
Your Opportunities for Advancement Will Be Limited
If you stay with your current company after receiving a counteroffer, it's important to be realistic about your future career growth opportunities. It's possible that your boss will hold a grudge and you'll be passed over for future promotions. Alternatively, the company may not have the budget to give you a raise or promotion in the future.
Read more: How To Avoid Common Job Offer Mistakes
Weighing Your Options
When you're considering whether or not to accept a counteroffer, it's important to weigh your options carefully. Consider what's best for you and your career.
Whatever the situation, counteroffers are extremely stressful for both the employer and the employee. If you find yourself facing a counteroffer from your employer, you may want to think about the following things:
Why do you want a new job?
Is it just a matter of money? Or are you unsatisfied with your schedule, your working conditions, or what you’re doing in your current position?
There are other things you’ll need to factor into the salary considerations. For example, how far away is your current job, and how is the commute with your potential new job? Will you be able to dress more casually and therefore not have to spend as much money on clothes? What are the benefits of your current job as opposed to your possible new job?
These are all factors to consider in your job offer negotiations.
Will your job be safe if you stay?
If your employer counteroffers, they will know that you were ready to leave the position. They may pin you as a disloyal employee and want to replace you for this reason, whether it’s in two months or six months. They may have just given you a counteroffer to keep you until they can find a good replacement.
How will you be treated if you stay at your current place of employment?
If you accept a counteroffer, you may be treated differently by your employer and co-workers. Also, if your employer is paying you more, they are going to have more expectations about your performance. Are you going to be motivated to deliver with this responsibility increase?
Do they value you as an employee?
If you approached your boss previously about adjusting your salary, schedule, etc. and they didn’t say yes at the time, even if this is part of your counteroffer, it’s likely only because it benefits them in some way.
If they valued you as a long-term employee, they would have said yes to your requests the first time you approached them.
Read more: How To Handle Multiple Job Offers.
Trust The Research
In a national survey conducted by Harvard Business Review, nearly 40% of HR leaders and senior executives agreed that accepting a counteroffer from a current employer will negatively affect the average employee's career. However, the vast majority of those surveyed agreed there were times that a counteroffer should be considered.
Another research study by Eclipse Software shows that 80% of candidates who accepted a counteroffer will still leave their current employer within six months and 9 out of 10 will leave within the next year.
The research on counteroffers is pretty conclusive—if you're considering accepting a counteroffer from your employer, think carefully about your decision. Many potential negatives come with accepting a counteroffer, and in most cases, it's not worth it in the long run. If you do decide to accept a counteroffer, be sure to do so with a backup plan lined up and a clear understanding of the potential risks.
If you find yourself in this position, firstPRO's career advisors can help you acquire more job offers and think through the best decision for your career goals. You can read our blog for more job seeker tips like How To Expand Your Professional Network To Secure Your Dream Job.