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Why You Should Decline a Counter offer from Your Current Employer

You should never accept a counteroffer from your current employer after submitting your notice. Accepting an offer to stay with your current company will leave you feeling dissatisfied, unfulfilled, and stressed out. Bet on yourself by staying true to your decision to leave and explore new opportunities.
OCT 12, 2023

Imagine this scenario: you receive a job offer from another company that offers career growth, new opportunities, and more rewards for your contributions. You accept it, promptly giving your two weeks' notice to your current employer. In an attempt to retain you, your current employer presents a counteroffer, asking you to stay and offering a raise to entice you. This can certainly leave you feeling a mix of emotions.


We strongly recommend you decline that offer. Sure, it can feel validating to finally receive the recognition and appreciation you have been seeking. It may also create anxiety and frustration, causing you to question the decision to leave your team and comfort zone. It’s normal to feel a range of emotions during this process, but it’s important not to allow your emotions interfere with making the right decision for yourself.


It comes down to this—If you’ve made the decision to move on from your current employer, it’s likely you’ve invested a lot of time and thought into the move. It’s also likely that there are aspects of your existing job or company that simply aren’t working for you. In any case, the new offer you’ve decided to take is one that stood out to you—whether because of more compensation, better benefits, or a stronger alignment with your desired company culture. In this situation, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of what a counteroffer looks like. And nine times out of ten, we’ll suggest you turn it down. Read on to discover why maintaining your resolve will prove beneficial in the long run.


What exactly is a counteroffer?


A counteroffer is exactly what it sounds like. It’s what happens when you inform your employer of your impending resignation, and instead of accepting it, they present an alternative offer. Counteroffers are usually supplemented first with flattery, as employers express how valuable you are to the company, they dangle big plans they may have had for your future, and they tell you they can’t afford to lose you.


These offers typically take the form of a slightly enhanced salary or compensation. But they can also look like:


  • Promises of future promotions
  • Changes in reporting structure (if internal conflict exists)
  • Emotional pressure to reconsider (anger or guilt tactics)


Why you should never accept the counteroffer


At some point, you may find yourself in a situation where a counteroffer from your employer seems appealing and provides you with a sense of recognition. However, making the decision to accept will rarely pay off. Here’s why.


It will not guarantee job satisfaction. Regardless of how you approach it, resigning from your current position or exploring other opportunities means you’re not satisfied with your current situation. While the promise of a higher salary or improved working conditions may appear enticing, statistics often indicate otherwise.


Statistics indicate that the majority of those who accept counteroffers end up leaving or being terminated, within 6-18 months. It becomes clear that despite receiving temporary perks or solutions initially, employees often revert to the same levels of dissatisfaction they experienced before accepting the counteroffer.


Your personal integrity is put into question. The decision to accept a counteroffer is, unfortunately, giving the impression that your loyalty can be bought. The most valuable thing you can do for yourself, and for your career, is trust that the choices you make are the right ones for you—regardless of what’s on the table. Holding firm to a decision to move on in your career is an expression of faith in your ability to decide your own future. Don’t take it lightly!


It’s a quick fix for your employer, not a long-term solution for you. Employers do not like to be fired. Employer managers have a lot to lose if they look bad to their superiors, who judge them partly on their ability to retain staff. On top of this, when a contributor quits, department morale may shift and have a domino effect on certain projects or people. All this, along with the burden and expense of hiring and training a new employee, will have a hiring manager scrambling. That’s why it’s common for managers to approach you with flattery and the prospect of a higher salary—often saying whatever they can to keep you around.


The fleeting sense of being valued can sway one towards accepting an offer and remaining in their current position. However, it’s crucial to question why the employer is suddenly willing to increase your salary, when they were unwilling to provide additional remuneration previously. The truth is, the employer is typically seeking a short-term fix by throwing money at the problem, rather than searching for a long-term solution that will cater to your specific needs.


How to counter the counteroffer with grace


It goes without saying that regardless of circumstance, you should always handle professional matters with class and respect. Thank your employer for their offer and express your gratitude for your time spent at the company, having learned and grown along the way.


When it comes time to reject their offer, the best way to avoid a stressful and potentially awkward encounter is to put your decision in writing. A formal letter of resignation will allow you to communicate your decision clearly and professionally while avoiding an uncomfortable conversation about why you're not accepting their offer. Keep the letter positive and professional, and extend your official two weeks' notice.


You’ve dedicated a lot of time and effort to advance your career and make the right decisions for you. It’s important not to let a counteroffer hinder your progress toward the next phase of your future. For additional career advice or to apply to open roles, connect with an experienced talent specialist today!


You’ve dedicated a lot of time and effort to advance your career and make the right decisions for you. It’s important not to let a counteroffer hinder your progress toward the next phase of your future. If you need further career guidance, feel free to reach out to LHH today.