Counter Offers – What Should You Do?

By Leslie Walters - Recruitment Director specialising in Accountancy Recruitment

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When you hand in your resignation, your employer may not react how you think they will – so our latest advisory piece gives some guidance on how to deal with counter offers. A counter offer means your employer wants to avoid your resignation and offers you an improvement on your current role, responsibilities and/or package.

Depending on your reason for looking for a new job of course, it can be really tempting to consider a counter offer. Especially when your current employer makes a real concerted effort to keep you by saying what great value you are adding to the company and offering attractive incentives to ensure you decide to stay. But in reality - should you accept the offer?

The answer is normally “no”, however this is with the caveat that your employer was clearly aware that you were unhappy in your current position.  If you went through the correct channels – whether that was an informal, documented conversation or as part of a formal appraisal process - and they didn’t react until you handed in your resignation, you should definitely consider the following points:

You shouldn’t have to resign for your worth to be recognised

Most companies will have formal or informal review and appraisal systems.  Your employer should be able to recognize from these that you are doing a good job and you should be offered progression and financial rewards too if budget allows.  Consider this - will you need to resign again in the future before they offer you any other career development opportunities or monetary incentives?

Counter offers don’t address the real issues

It is rare that a decision to leave a company is purely financial. There are normally other issues involved – whether it is a company culture you no longer believe in, a desire for more job responsibility, or lack of career progression opportunities.  A counter offer won’t necessarily resolve these, they will only fix financial reward in the short term.  Giving you a pay rise will normally cost your company less than recruiting and training a replacement.

Your future loyalty could be questioned

Resigning does demonstrate that you will put your career before the needs of the company, in some people’s view. Some managers may question your loyalty to the business if you have taken the time to go out and secure work elsewhere. This should not affect your opportunity for progression and promotion but you cannot rule it out being a potential mark against you and any future opportunities for advancement within the business if you do decide to remain with your current employer.


It is always best to raise any issues with your current employer long before you get to the stage of looking for alternative employment. However, if you have not discussed these and you resign and their counter offer seems genuine, then it is for you to decide what you want to do. However, it’s worth remembering that on average 60% of employees who accepted a counter offer ended up leaving the company six months later anyway because their employer wasn’t able to resolve the issues that the individuals had raised.


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