The market is ever changing in a normal scenario, add COVID-19 in the mix and you will get an absolute whirlwind. The CA market is slowly but surely showing signs of waking up which is positive and now more than ever, counter offers are going to be happening.

So you consider a few opportunities and end up with an offer for an amazing role with your dream firm that you would like to pursue. You stop procrastinating, pick up some courage in order go hand in your notice to your Manager and you receive a counter offer tailor made to get you to stay… What do you do?

What is a Counter Offer?

A counter offer is a proposal made by your current employer in order to retain you in their business rather than accept an offer from an outside source. This is usually given when you hand in your notice to make you think twice about resigning.

This can appear in a few different packages such as an increase in salary, bonus, promotion, carpark, change of role/stream/projects and/or shares in the business.

Why would an employer counter offer you?

  • To keep your knowledge and experience
  • To maintain office morale and client continuity
  • To avoid adding extra work to your colleagues
  • To minimise the costs of hiring and replacing you
  • To safeguard their client base 
  • To stop other staff consider external opportunities

What are the potential downsides of staying?

  • According to the stats, up to 80% of those who accept counter offers end up leaving their current employer within 6 months, and 9 out of 10 leave within a year
  • If your main driver is around office culture, no amount of money or other elements will change this issue
  • If they increase your salary and nothing else, this is a short term financial gain and the reasons that made you look in the first place will soon resurface
  • The leadership team and/or your manager will not have the same opinion of you. There will be a lack of trust and/or resentment and for any further training, projects, promotions – you may no longer be the first choice
  • The reality is the firm is acting in the best interests of themselves, counter offering you to get you to stay is the easy option. They don’t need to replace you, go through the recruitment process, interview then train someone new 
  • With the current climate if they knew you were recently on the lookout for another opportunity, when it comes to redundancies, who do you think they may consider first?
  • Also to state the obvious, why now? Why did your current firm not offer this to you earlier? Why did it take this current offer for them to see your value?

How do I manage a counter offer?

1. Find out the small print

Approach your manager and find out why they want to keep you. Is it because they truly value you or because they want to avoid the costs and time of replacing you? Disclaimer, you do not need to make a decision there and then. Find out the details then take your time over a day or two to weigh up both options in order to make the right decision for you.

2. Compare the counter offer with your current offer

Basic but assess the pros and cons of the counter offer and your new offer. There are many aspects to consider both hard and soft benefits. Hard benefits are solid or something that you can touch such as salary, car park, location, client base or a job title. Soft benefits are the type that are not so easy to gauge such as professional development, progression opportunities, work life balance, team morale, values and ethics. Ensure you also consider your career long term and short term for both options.

3. Speak to your Recruitment Partner

If you’re working with a Recruiter, pick up the phone to let them know about your counter offer as soon as humanly possible. A good Recruiter will have heard the good, bad and the ugly – not to mention this will not be their first rodeo. It is in our best interests for you to make the right decision. We don’t want you to leave our clients after a few months to join your old employer, it doesn’t look good for you or for us. They will be your sounding board to give you the best advice for you, we want you to choose the right option for your career. They can give insight on something you may not have considered and past experiences with other individuals like yourself.

4. Revisit your ‘Why’

I know it is easier said than done but put your emotion to the side and think of your reasons for looking in the first place. Does your new offer give you what you were originally looking for? Does your counter offer fix the issues you had? If yes, short term or long term? 

5. Go with your Gut

No doubt you have heard ‘trust your intuition’ which resonates because deep down you already know what the best decision is. Put yourself first, if the shoe was on the other foot what would your current firm do? At the end of the day this is business and should be treated as such. You should be methodical when assessing the pros and cons between your counter offer and current offer and listen to your moral compass. Your inner voice was telling you to leave and look for another opportunity, so if you ignore it, it could cost you in the future.

6. Make a decision

It depends on your personal unique situation as to whether it is best to stay or go. You are the driver of your career and destiny, choose what is best for you and your short term and long term career. Once you have made your decision, pick up the phone to your recruiter, let your current employer and future employer know as soon as possible.

Yes it is a risk to move, but it is equally risky to stay where you are without growing, developing and getting you closer to your goals. I am more than happy to share my knowledge and expertise to give you advice on your career. Do get in touch for a confidential conversation.