Counter Offers – Are they ever a good option?

When you hand in your resignation, your employer may not react how you think they will, especially if you have a skill set in short supply – so our latest advisory piece gives some guidance on how to deal with counter offers.

A counter offer means your employer wants to keep you in the business and will usually mean they’ll offer you an incentive to stay. This could be a combination of additional responsibilities, training and, of course, an increase in salary/benefits etc.

It can be really tempting to consider a counter offer, depending on your reason for looking for a new job of course. Especially if your current employer makes a really concerted effort to keep you – after all, who doesn’t want to know they’re highly valued at work. And if they’re offering attractive incentives to ensure you decide to stay, it can be very tempting to do so. But in reality – should you ever accept a counter offer?

The answer is normally “no”, however this is with the caveat that your employer was clearly aware that you have been unhappy in your current position. If you’ve been through the correct channels to record any issues, whether that was an informal, documented conversation or as part of a more formal appraisal process, and no action was taken to rectify the situation, you should definitely consider the following points:

Your resignation shouldn’t be a reason for your worth to be recognised

The majority of companies these days will have some form of process in place for regular staff reviews and appraisals.  Your manager will be able to recognise from these that you are doing a good job and, if that is the case, the natural outcome should be progression in your work, supported by training and development opportunities too.

Lastly, given the economy is now in a much better situation than a few years ago, salary increments should be a given at least each year. If this is not the case – will you need to resign again in the future before they offer you career development opportunities and increased financial rewards or incentives?

A counter offer doesn’t deal with the real issues

Given the above point, it is important to recognise that the decision to leave a company is rarely just based on financial reasons. There are normally other issues – whether it is a desire for more job responsibility, a lack of career progression opportunities or, in some cases, a company culture you no longer feel fits with your values.

A counter offer definitely won’t resolve these and, in the short term, you will only benefit from additional financial reward. Giving you increased or different responsibilities in your role as well as seeing your training and development needs met will need time to implement so you should consider this too.

Your future loyalty may come into question

Some businesses could potentially question your loyalty to them if you have invested the time it takes to search for and secure a new job. This should definitely not affect your opportunity for progression and promotion but you cannot rule out that it could be a potential mark against you and any future opportunities 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.

Having difficulty with moving to a new position? We provide a service that is tailored to your needs and time-scale and our team are happy to help with any concerns or questions you may have at any stage of the recruitment process – from leaving your old position, to first day nerves in your new role. Get in touch: 0191 477 4733.

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