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Should I stay or should I go? How to handle counter offers

by alex, added 1 year ago

Whilst it’s a very personal and subjective decision for individuals to make, research has showed that more than 60% of UK-based employees who accept a counter offer end up leaving the organisation in question within six months. That’s quite a big chunk.

It’s only natural for an employer to want to retain talented staff and your manager is likely to offer a financial temptation at the point of resignation, quite possibly with a change in job title, promises of career development internally and a cherry on the top too. For even the most determined, this type of conversation can throw a major spanner in the works.

We’ve had a rally round the office to get thoughts from our recruitment consultants, who speak about their experience when dealing with counter offers across a wide range of industries.

Sarah, Customer Success Manager

When I first start working with candidates one of the first questions I ask is “what does your current employer need to offer you to stay?”. It’s so important to ask yourself this question right at the start of your own process in looking for a new job. You can then address these issues with your current employer. Once you have all the information you can make an informed decision about whether to stay or move on.

If you’ve gone all the way through the process with another company and haven’t had the conversation with your employer be prepared for a counter offer! It’s easier for an employer to keep you in the position than to hire a new recruit but ask yourself “why did it take me handing in my notice to finally offer me what I was looking for?”.

The other area for consideration is that clients always remember candidates who turn down offers so be careful to manage things professionally and not close the door for opportunities in the future.


Tom, Director

In my experience, candidates who are ‘bought-back’ rarely remain within their current role for over a year and that doesn’t surprise me. I think joining a business who have offered a salary and role reflective of your work and ability from the outset is more likely going to lead to a better relationship over the following 12 months than remaining in an organisation who have only tabled a solution when being faced with the employees resignation. 

If your current employer genuinely valued your contribution as much as they claim to once you have decided on leaving, then they would have certainly progressed you sooner without the need of this ultimatum.





Ed, Director

Counter offers are flattering and often can come out of the blue, as you may well be moving as feel undervalued or appreciated. What is key is not to react in the moment and be pressured into a decision. Acknowledge appreciation and request time to think about what has been offered. Then, go away and think about what you want and the questions you need to ask around the counter offer.

By going back to your employer and asking specific questions about what has been proposed can tell you a lot. If you get structured and clear answers that have been thought about, this can give you some confidence the offer is genuine. If the answers are evasive and ‘fluffy’, this should then raise alarm bells that it is just a reaction to the situation presented.

Get everything in writing before you formally turn down any other opportunities.

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