Reasons why you should not be accepting a Counter Offer

Our opinion is NEVER accept counter offers. If you wanted to stay with your current employer then  you would have addressed your issues whether that be situation, promotion and development prospects or a pay rise.

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 very bad form and bad practice that can tarnish your name if you accept an offer of employment then renege on this commitment.

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 may regard you as a ‘problem employee’. In our experience, many people who accept counter offers have left their employment within six months. This happens 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.

So you’ve decided it’s the right time for the next step forward in your career and finally you land a new position that means more money, a better situation and new opportunities.  But when you give notice to your current employer, your boss says, “Tell me what they offered.  I’ll match it or beat it.” Now what do you do? 

Before jumping at a counter offer, think long and hard. Ask yourself this – If you were worth X pounds yesterday, why is your company suddenly willing to now pay you Y pounds today?. 

So consider the following why you should not accept a counter offer - but don’t take our word for it.  Run your own search online and see for yourself.   

1. You have now made your employer aware that you are unhappy.  From this day on your commitment will always be in question.

2. When promotion time comes around, your employer will remember who is loyal and who isn’t.

3. When times get tough, your employer will begin the cutbacks with you.

4. When your employer replaces you after six months and ‘lets you go’, it’ll be harder to turn them around than it was for them to turn you around.

5. Accepting a counter offer is an insult to your intelligence.  You didn’t know what was best for you.

6. Accepting a counter offer is a blow to your personal pride, knowing you were ‘bought’.

7. Accepting a counter offer rarely changes the factors that drove you to look for a new job in the first place.

8. Where is the money for the counter offer coming from?  Is it your next pay rise early?

9. Statistics show that if you accept a counter offer, there is a significant risk that you will be out of the job within a year.

10. What type of a company do you work for if you have to threaten to resign before they give you what you’re worth?

11. Why didn’t they pay you that before? It was because they didn’t think you were worth it.

12. Why are they paying it to you now?  It’s because it’s easier and cheaper for them to keep you for the time being, while they sort the problem out.

Other things to consider

Employers often make counter offers in a moment of panic. ("We can't have Joe leave right now! We have that big conference next month.") But after the initial relief passes, you may find your relationship with your employer—and your standing with the company—has fundamentally changed. You're now the one who was looking to leave. You're no longer part of the inner circle, and you might be at the top of the list if your company needs to make cutbacks in the future.

There's a reason you started job-searching in the first place. While more money is always a motivator, more often, there are also other factors that drove you to look: personality fit, dislike of your boss, boredom with the work, lack of recognition, insane deadlines. Whatever it might have been, those factors aren't going to change and will likely start bothering you again as soon as the glow from your raise wears off.

Counter-offers are very common and it can come as a shock to find that your decision is not being accepted. Counter-offers usually take the form of: “You’re too valuable, and we need you.” “You can’t desert the team.” “We were just about to promote/give you a raise, but it was confidential until now.” “What did they offer, why are you leaving and what do you need to stay?” “The MD wants to meet with you before you make your final decision.” Counter-offers usually involve:

  • Increased responsibilities/promises of future promotions
  • Changes in reporting structure (especially if an inter-personal conflict exists)
  • Promises for upcoming salary reviews
  • Emotional pressure to reconsider

These discussions can often cause you to second-guess your initial decision. The fear of change can surface, and you are about to leave a comfortable job, friends, location, etc. for an unknown opportunity where you have to prove yourself all over again. Fear of change can influence your decision to stay. No matter how good the new opportunity is – it can sometimes seem more comfortable to submit to the pressure put on you to stay. These are common human reactions and counter-offer proposals focus on these sensitive points to change your mind. Of course, we all like to think we are irreplaceable, but accepting a counter- offer or appeal to stay is ultimately not in your interests.

You may be told to take the other offer, even if you don't really want it—and then you'll have to follow through. Using another offer as a bluff is a really dangerous game.

Good luck getting that new employer to ever consider you again. If you go all the way through their hiring process only to accept a counteroffer from your current employer, then the former is going to be wary of considering you in the future. If it's a global hospitality company you'd like to work with, you might be shutting a door you'd rather keep open.

Now, are there times where accepting a counteroffer makes sense and works out? Sure, there are always exceptions. But it's a bad idea frequently enough that you should be very, very cautious before doing so.


Remember, it’s often the easy option to stay where you are and accept the counter-offer but ‘easy’ isn’t always ‘best’ and it’s important to think about the wider impact and risks associated with accepting a counter offer.