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Author: Duncan J Carter

Published date: 2017/09


If you’ve ever worked with a recruiter to find a new job, you’ve already heard a pretty consistent message about counteroffers: never accept them. Under any circumstance. EVER. Every recruiter has had this drilled into his head from day one—for good reason.

When you have received an offer of employment which you are inclined to accept, you must consider very carefully whether it really solves your problem and offers you the opportunity you are seeking before you resign from your current employment. If you choose to accept the offer and to resign from your current employment, you must be prepared to resist powerful, persuasive tactics which your employer can use to change your mind. It is invariably a costly irritation for employers to recruit your replacement and often they will do everything they can to keep you. They may offer large sums of money or increased benefits, titles and promises for the future. They can also apply strong emotional and psychological pressure. It can be attractive and tempting to accept. However, once they know you are discontented, they will regard you as a ‘problem employee’. Nationally compiled statistics show that nine out of ten people who accept counter offers have left their employment within six months, either because their employers arrange a replacement in their own time, or because the real reasons for wanting to change your job in the first place, have not gone away. 

The only way the counter makes any sense is if your only problem is you want more money. That's an easy fix, being unhappy at work is not easy to fix. Life is to short, move on.

Apart from a short-term, band-aid treatment, nothing will change within the company. After the dust settles from this upheaval, you'll be in the same old rut. A rule of thumb among recruiters is that more than 80% of those accepting counteroffers leave, or are terminated, within six to twelve months anyway. Half of those who do succumb reinitiate their job searches within 90 days, recruiters say.

If you are considering accepting a counteroffer, then you should get everything that the management promised into writing. If they dangle a promotion, salary increases, better work quality somewhere along the way, make sure that you have a document to prove it. It would also help if you have a definite time span for each promise. Do not be contented with just getting a promotion. Ask for a promotion "within the next six months" or a raise effective immediately.

If you're not convinced, I think you should accept it. You need to do what feels right for you and your family. It may turn out that the grass is not greener on the other side. Maybe you won't remain at your current job forever, but maybe an even better opportunity is out there for you and when it appears - accepting it will feel right 

Note that accepting a counter-offer is not the preferred way of doing things. They may very well end up thinking that you'll probably leave soon anyway (given that this is what usually happens), so you end up not getting any exciting or impactful projects to work on, less or no promotions or raises and may even find yourself worked out of the company all together (fired) down the line.