Your employer has made a counter-offer. Should you accept it?

Your employer has made a counter-offer. Should you accept it?


You have gone through the hiring process at another company and accepted their job offer. But after tendering your resignation with your current company, your employer comes back with an attractive counter-offer. What do you do?


Why do employers make counter-offers?


First, let’s look at the reasons why your employer is trying to keep you on board.

It’s simple: you caught your employer off guard. They were not expecting your resignation, and they need you and your skills. They are not sure that they will be able to replace you—at least not in the short term—so they bring out the big guns to convince you to stay.

The current labour market conditions mean that people are leaving their jobs in droves and counter-offers are on the rise. Counter-offers are a classic move, but companies are now resorting to them more often given the pressures caused by the labour shortage.

Tell your current employer you appreciate the offer, but politely decline. Remember the reasons why you wanted to leave the company and change jobs in the first place. At the end of the day, are the benefits that are being promised really worth staying for? If your original reasons for leaving involve corporate values or culture, does your manager really have the power to make a difference?


The different types of counter-offers


Your employer’s counter-offer can take on various forms—from promises made over lunch to formal offers— and include:

  • Salary increase
  • Promotion
  • New responsibilities
  • Better working conditions (work schedule, vacation days, flexibility, etc.)
  • Changes in management style
  • Etc.

While the offer may seem extremely attractive, are the promised benefits enough to make up for the drawbacks? If you no longer identify with the company, if its procedures are wearing you down, or if your manager does not appreciate your true value, will you really be any happier? Or are you just putting a band-aid on an open wound?


Employers and employees: Look at the flip side


If you decide to accept the counter-offer, remember one thing: your employer no longer has faith in your loyalty. You wanted to jump ship, so you are no longer seen as a team player. Your reputation at the company has been tarnished. If there are ever job cuts or a restructuring at your company, you risk being first on the list to go.

Managers, when you make a counter-offer, know that you are buying time and not loyalty. As long as you do not know the deeper reasons that pushed your employee to look elsewhere, or remedy the drawbacks of the job, that employee will continue to keep searching, to see if the grass is greener somewhere else.


Broken trust


Mutual trust between employees and employers is essential. Since this relationship becomes extremely precarious in this situation, our executive search firm never recommends accepting a counter-offer.

If you do decide to accept a counter-offer, make sure that the promises made are supported by concrete actions with timelines. Let the headhunter and the other employer know that you have reconsidered their offer and provide the reasons why you have decided not to take the job in the end. Be frank and honest; you may be actively looking for a job sooner than you think...

Business Insights

The Legal Landscape: What Companies Need to Know About Legal Executive Search

When you are looking for a Chief Legal Officer, VP of Legal Affairs, or a partner in a private practice, it is important to select an executive search firm that understands how to approach candidates with a high level of professionalism and confidentiality.

The Growing Importance of Marketing Executives in the Digital Age

If you need a marketing executive search, you’re not alone. At any one time, there are hundreds of CMO job openings in North America and more than a thousand globally.

The Power of Personal Branding for Executives

At certain points in their career, executives want to keep growing inside their organizations or outside. Maybe they want to position themselves for a promotion or new job, sit on boards, or be recognized as an industry leader.