​Should I  stay or should I go? What to do with a counteroffer


​Should I stay or should I go? What to do with a counteroffer

Posted on 01 February 2024

You’ve done it. You were prepared, you were brave, you were confident. You walked into your manager’s office and told them you were leaving. Well done you!

But then comes the tricky bit – the counteroffer.

They don’t want you to go, you are too important to the team, the project; they want you to stay! So, what do you do?

It’s easy to be swayed when you are presented with an immediate pay rise or promotion, and many people will be; however, it's important to weigh things up and make sure you are making the right choice.


So why do people accept counter offers?

  1. Financial Gain: A counteroffer is usually a salary increase or additional benefits which can be extremely hard to resist, especially if you are impacted by the current cost of living crisis.

  2. Familiarity: Many people enjoy the familiarity of working with people they know and like, in an environment they are comfortable with, so walking away from this can be challenging, even more so when a carrot has been dangled in front of you to stay.

  3. Career Advancement: The counteroffer might include promises of future promotions or career development opportunities, so why not stay, and enjoy the promotion rather than change employers and have to learn a new way of working?

  4. Loyalty: Often people find it difficult to leave due to loyalty to their manager or colleagues. If they have a strong relationship with them, there could be a sense of guilt or obligation which can make it harder to resist the counteroffer.


What are the implications of accepting a counteroffer?

Some people, despite having gone through the recruitment process of applying for the role, being shortlisted, attending interviews, and negotiating an offer, may discover that their current employer is able to offer them something that absolutely makes if worth them staying in their current role. However, before making this decision it is important to consider a few things:

  1. Trust Issues: Once you have ‘shown your hand’ to your employer they may begin to question your commitment and long-term intentions. Although they have persuaded you to stay for now, this may impact the longer-term relationship.

  2. Temporary Solution: While a counteroffer can address immediate concerns (who doesn’t enjoy having more money in their pocket?) it may not resolve underlying issues which cause you to start your job search in the first place. If your commute is too long or you don’t like your work colleagues, more money is not going to make these challenges disappear.

  3. Career Development: Often a counteroffer includes the promise of career advancement although this doesn’t always materialise, and so staying could actually impact your long-term professional growth.

  4. Impact on Relationships: It is important to consider how accepting a counteroffer could impact relationships with prospective employers. Your professional reputation could be damaged if you had accepted a new job offer and then turned it down shortly after.

  5. A salary review in disguise? Many candidates who accept counteroffers find themselves excluded from standard pay raises when annual salary reviews are conducted. Make sure you clarify your future prospects for pay rises to ensure you know what the true value of the offer is.

How do you know if it’s the right decision?

When considering what to do, it’s important to re-visit the reasons you began your job search in the first place. Usually there will have been a number of factors that cause a person to look for new opportunities so take the time to consider whether your existing employer can truly rectify or improve these aspects of your job.

If you have worked closely with your recruiter, you should have been presented with new opportunities that provide solutions to your existing frustrations or limitations. Remind yourself of the prospects for career growth, skill development and the fresh start you can look forward to in the new company.

Don’t be a victim of imposter syndrome. It is easy to convince yourself that you aren’t worthy of the new job, that it is better to stay where people know and trust you, rather than risk being ‘found out’. Remember that your future employer and your recruiter believe you can do the job, and you should too! That’s why you were offered the position. So, believe in yourself and your ability to do fantastic work. 😊


It can be difficult to embrace change, and it is important to weigh up all perspectives when making career choices, but sometimes the best thing to do is step forward and explore the unknown.

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