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Negotiating a Counter Offer

Congratulations, you’ve just accepted the offer for an exciting new job! Starting a new role is exciting but can be daunting too. It can be sad to leave your current workplace and leave old friends behind - and how will your current boss react when you resign? 

When you do hand in your notice, there is a realistic chance that you will receive a counter offer from the company you're looking to leave. 

So what should you do? There is certainly a lot to think about and it is ultimately your decision how you wish to proceed. 

The pros and cons of accepting counter offers:


  • You don’t have to start at a new place being the ‘newbie’
  • You don’t have to meet/impress a new set of people
  • You don’t have to go through the stress/hassle of moving companies
  • Your pay goes up so, if you handed your notice in just to get a pay rise, then, yes, you are winning


  • There was a reason (or perhaps multiple reasons) that you started to look for a new job in the first place
  • The trust with your current employer may be broken and your previously untarnished loyalty could now be questioned
  • Why are they promising you this now instead of months ago?  Is it fair to have to have to threaten to leave every time you want to get a pay rise?
  • More money will not necessarily make you happier in your job
  • A counter offer isn't always a sign that you’re actually valued – sometimes it’s used simply as a staff retention tool


To understand the motivations behind counter-offers, it is useful to realise some of the more common thoughts that go through your employer’s mind when you resign :
  • How am I supposed to replace them, keep the team together and achieve budget?
  • What inconvenient timing – I was about to go on annual leave for 3 weeks!
  • How am I going to look to the board/senior management for losing this person?
  • Where is he/she going?
  • Can I get them to stay until I find a replacement and have an effective handover?
  • How can I get them to stay? 

If you are a valuable member of the team, your boss and your company won’t want to see you walk out the door, especially to the competition. They will make every attempt to convince you to stay, either by:

  • Making you a counter offer
  • Making you feel guilty and/or disloyal
  • Reminding you how valuable you are to the team


Being made an attractive counter offer is instantly good for your ego, but you must take a number of things into consideration before saying “thanks” or “no thanks”:

  • You have only received a counter offer because you resigned. It is a purely reactive tactic from your employer and should make you wonder whether you need to resign every time you want to improve your situation. If your employer thought you were truly worthy, why didn’t they improve your situation anyway?
  • Do your reasons for wanting to leave still exist? You may have a number of reasons – salary too low, no promotion in sight, not liking your boss etc. You may be offered more money to stay, which can be tempting, but if you still have other issues outstanding, you’ll probably end up leaving further down the line.


Despite what your employer is saying to you, they will probably now consider you a risk and may make contingency plans without your knowledge. You may not be seen as a true member of the team and may even be overlooked for promotions.

The counter-offer could simply be an interim tactic from your employer to bridge a gap whilst they look to replace you.

Research and surveys have been completed over the years to measure what happens to employees who accept counter-offers. Some research suggests that only 6 out of 100 employees are still with their company after 12 months and 89% leave within the first 6 months.  With further investigations, two important points become apparent:

  • The salary was hardly ever the prime motivator for resigning – more money didn’t ultimately change the true state of play
  • Things didn’t take long to return to the way they were before the resignation

Before accepting a counter offer, ask yourself why your employer has made the offer. There is a strong possibility that the cons will outweigh the pros and you will realise that your decision to resign was right after all.

Want to talk more about counter offers?

We are happy to talk to discuss or guide you if you need advice on what to do! Call us and we can help navigate your options. 

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Sources and further reading:








Our Guide to Navigating a Counter Offer


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