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The dreaded counter offer

Published: 04 March 2019

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Picture this...

You've felt unhappy at work for a while, you've spoken to your Manager but not reached a resolution to your work frustrations so you are seeking a better balance elsewhere. You secure that dream job which addresses your reasons for leaving your old job and you resign.

What you didn't expect was to be counter offered...

Even if you think this will never happen to you, it is best to prepare in advance so that you are comfortable with your own response, which should be in most cases

'No, thank you.'

Amazed that I am telling you to decline your manager's counter offer?

Here's why.....

Counter offers usually mean a pay rise - sound great? sure it does.

However, whatever the reasons were that meant you started to look for a new job are very likely still there. It wasn't only money that drove you to start the interviewing process, in fact that wasn't the main reason at all.

The big question you need to ask yourself is - why would you suddenly want to stay in your job purely because your Manager offered you more money?

Let's remind you of the stats:

50% of candidates who accept a counter offer from their current employer are usually actively looking again within 2 months.

This statistic re-emphasises just how short term the solution of accepting a monetary only counter offer can be. There is often a multitude of reasons why candidates are looking for a new role and, for the majority of cases, the novelty of an increased salary wears off very quickly.

9 out of 10 employees who accept a counter offer leave their employer within 12 months.

Just to put the nail in the coffin, this statistic shows just how fragile your future at your existing company is, if you accept. A counter offer is beneficial to the current employer because it also buys them sufficient time to look for a long term replacement, with the knowledge that your are almost certain to leave within 12 months. The power is in their hands.

It can cost an employer as much as 213% of an annual salary to replace a senior level position.

Financially speaking, counter offers make complete sense to employers, particularly for senior positions when you factor in the recruitment process, time lost on work and training costs.

When you consider this, counter offering with a salary rise of £5-10k (or equivalent) doesn’t seem like such an extravagant risk for an employer. In fact, employers can temporarily satisfy the requirements of a key employee in the knowledge that they can prepare themselves for their departure. Once again, the power is in the employers hands.

Once you consider even a few of these stats, it's clear what is happening. Your employer has been and perhaps is still taking advantage of you.

Reasons for Not Accepting Counter Offers

  • Why weren't you paid this salary for the past X years? Did they not feel you were worth that salary previously?
  • You may feel as it you were 'bought' and the true reasons for your unhappiness were ignored.
  • You will lose power over your future. Your employer now has the upper hand and your loyalty will always be in question when promotion or redundancy/lay off time comes around.
  • What type of employer do you work for if you need to resign before you are given a pay rise?

Your next 12 months

Do not let an unexpected counter offer stop you in your tracks. Thank your employer for the opportunity and reaffirm your intention to leave. Stand your ground. However, should you decide not to leave for pastures new, be aware that your resignation will not be forgotten. Most employers will feel a sense of betrayal that you were about to leave them.

You are going to have to work extremely hard to win back your employers trust. You might have to strive harder than your colleagues to prove your loyalty and worthiness over the next 12 months and beyond. Your new post-resignation life with your old company is not going to be a walk in the park.

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