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Should I accept a counter-offer from my employer?

By: Aquent

LAST UPDATED: 07 March, 2024

So, you’ve been on various interviews and have been made a job offer. You go to hand in your notice to your employer and they counter-offer as a way of getting you to stay. One question creeps into your mind (and in the words of music legends The Clash); ‘Should I stay or should I go?'.

The most pressing question you should be asking yourself is:

Is this really going to change anything?

Now of course it can be flattering to know your employer values you so highly, but it rarely addresses the factors behind your resignation, and there are good reasons as to why you should really consider this question

I’ve seen people accept counter offers, and then contact me 2-4 months done the line, still blissfully unhappy. Mainly because nothing has really changed.

Is staying too much of a big risk? And does this risk outweigh the rewards being offered? You don’t want to be 6 months down the line in the same situation.

Is more money the answer you’re looking for?

It’s easy to be tempted by the prospect of more money in your current role, but you need to ask yourself, is more money going to equal happiness? What is the value of your happiness?

You need to remember why it is you are looking for a new role in the first place?

  • Were you looking for a more challenging role? Or a new challenge?
  • A better or different working environment or different culture?
  • Maybe you’ve been with your company for a long while and feel it’s time for a change?
  • Is it management or your Manager that hasn’t been right?
  • Maybe the company hasn’t offered you enough by way of development
  • If one of these statements rings true  — is more money going to change how you feel, if the answer is no — I think you know what the right decision is.

Why a counter-offer now?

Again it’s flattering to be offered more money or prospects, but why is it only now that you are handing in your notice that your company are offering more money, prospects or opportunities?

If you’re so valuable, why hasn't anyone acknowledged your contributions before?

If you have to go elsewhere to validate your worth, then maybe you are not in the right place now.

Is this just a case of ‘too little, too late?

  • All these questions are completely valid questions to ask yourself in this situation, as they may help you make your decision quickly
  • So understand and back your worth — maybe a company that offers you that at the outset, is the company worth working for and investing your career in.

Will your loyalty be questioned?

Again this may just be a possibility, but you have already planted the seed with your current company that you are looking to leave, do you think this could hinder your possibility for further progression? So therefore the long term prospect could play out negatively in this situation.

The employer may feel that you are not committed to the business.

Could this be damaging to your relationship with your employer? Hopefully not — but perhaps something that should be considered.

Final tips

Now the question as to whether you should accept a counter-offer, is a really important one. By asking yourself a few quick questions, this should help you make the right decision. And just to recap:

  • Is this really going to change anything?
  • Is more money the answer?
  • Why now?
  • Are they going to question your loyalty?

Don’t labour over your decision for too long, you don’t want to keep your potential offer waiting, as this can also sometimes lead to negative outcomes as they may feel that they are second best.