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I Got a Counter-Offer! Woo-Hoo???

image Congratulations… you got a new job offer that you like! Then, when you went back to give notice to your current employer they said: “Hey wait! We don’t want to lose you, we’ll beat your new offer!”

Great news… right?

Maybe… but probably not!

More money always sounds nice… but here are some things to consider before accepting that counter-offer and staying at your current company…


Why were you willing to interview in the first place? Although it’s not necessarily a bad thing to consider other opportunities that may be available to you, people that are fulfilled in their current job rarely take the time to interview for something else. The prospect of more money can be attractive, however, overall job satisfaction is rarely a function of someone’s salary. Getting a significant raise in your current job is not likely to address the other reasons you were open to interviewing for a new position in the first place. The culture hasn’t changed, your boss hasn’t changed, the job responsibilities haven’t changed, your co-workers haven’t changed, the commute hasn’t changed, the stress, hours, and expectations haven’t changed… so will the extra money really improve your situation? Not likely!

Statistically, you’re doomed! Depending on which research you believe, somewhere between 50% and 80% of people that accept a counter-offer from their current employer, are no longer employed at that company within 6 months! There are a number of reasons for this, including:

  • Un-kept promises by the employer made in the counter-offer
  • Career growth is hampered because the employer now questions your loyalty
  • Greater frustration at things that haven’t changed
  • Increased rivalry with peers due to them seeing you getting a better deal
  • New projects or opportunities are withheld because your commitment is in question
  • …and many others

Your employer made a counter-offer only to buy time to create a better transition. When an employee submits an unexpected resignation, an employer often panics, wondering how they will get projects and deadlines met while they are short a person. Finding, hiring, and training a new employee takes time and things can fall behind in the meantime. The quickest, easiest, and usually most cost-effective solution is to offer more money for the existing person to stay until a smoother transition can be made.

Employers know the statistics of people that accept counter-offers as well, and know it’s not likely the person will stay long. However, by making the offer, and keeping the person for a while longer, they can plan a transition that will keep things from falling behind. No matter how much they value you as an employee, they now know you are dissatisfied in your job and a great flight risk in the near term. They no longer view you as a long-term employee, but as someone they need to keep only until they can figure out their “Plan B”.

Although a counter-offer may feel flattering, and look attractive on paper, it virtually never makes sense to accept it. Once you’ve come to a point that you decide to accept another job, the best path for your career is to follow through regardless of what your current employer may offer. Ultimately, your career will benefit.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, something they never taught me in college how to handle properly. Just went through this about a month ago.

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