What to do when you get a counteroffer?


You’ve found a new job, you hand in your notice–and your boss offers you the moon to get you to stay. What do you do?

This sounds like an ideal situation. You’ve decided you’re ready to move on for whatever reason–maybe you’re looking for higher pay, a better work/life balance, or a new challenge. After some secret job-hunting, another employer offers you what you’re looking for. And now your boss is so keen to keep you they’ve made a counteroffer. It’s tempting, isn’t it?

Receiving a counteroffer is flattering. It makes you feel valued. You’re so good at your job they can’t bear to see you go! The place would fall down without you! And that warm rosy glow usually comes with a significant chunk of cold hard cash.

But is accepting a counteroffer really such a good idea? It’s worth thinking carefully before you say yes.

Your employer may not see your pay rise as a long-term expense: you’ve already identified yourself as a flight risk. 80% of employees who accept counteroffers leave anyway–voluntarily or otherwise–in the next six months.


Should you accept a counteroffer? Tips to decide

  • List the pros and cons of staying versus leaving. It can be helpful to write any nagging questions down, like this:


Reason for leaving: Higher salary

Counteroffer: Pay rise

Consequence: Why did I have to threaten to leave to get a pay rise? Will they include me in the next pay review?

Reason for leaving: Quality of workload

Counteroffer: Offered better quality of work

Consequence: Am I really guaranteed this, or is it a short-term fix?

Reason for leaving: Shorter hours/better work-life balance

Counteroffer: Promised to address these

Consequence: Can they afford to offer this to all staff? If colleagues think I’m getting special treatment, how sustainable will this be?

  • Do keep your eyes on your goal. Remember why you wanted to leave.
  • Don’t get emotional. Feelings may be running high on both sides, but this is still a business decision. Stay professional, and stay in control of the situation.
  • Do resign clearly and professionally in writing.
  • Do discuss your decision with friends, family, colleagues you trust, and preferably a professional recruitment expert–even better if it’s one who specialises in your sector.

If you work anywhere in the pensions sector and you’ve received a counteroffer–or if you’d like to be prepared for one–get in touch today and discover how we can support you.

Posted by: Branwell Ford