Should You Accept a Counter-Offer for a Job?

Posted on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 by The Career GuideNo comments

Contrary to media opinion, getting a job offer at the moment isn’t impossible. Employers may also have been pushing you harder, assuming that your options for change are limited. But should you successfully apply for a new job, they may well suddenly change their tune and want to keep you. Even in “normal” times, counter-offers aren’t unusual.

However, we know that counter-offers can often leave you in a real quandary. Which offer do you accept? If your current employer aims to match or exceed your new offer, how do you make the decision?

First things first

With two offers in your hand, it’s easy to forget your manners — but make sure you don’t! Thank both parties for their offer and say that you’re taking a few days to consider it. Don’t think you can get away with playing one off against the other as you’ll move forwards with ill-will and potentially burn bridges you need in the future.

What does your heart say?

The first thing to consider is whether you have a particularly strong pull to the new offer. If you’re set on leaving and ready for a change, then don’t let yourself be swayed into staying stuck in a rut.

Consider your employment relationship to date

If you’re tempted by a counter-offer, you need to consider your reasons for looking for a new job and assess them against what you’ve experienced with your employer to date. Leopards don’t change their spots, and the chances are that you’ll quickly slip back into old patterns of behaviour, even if you see this as a new start.

Additionally, are your line managers and colleagues the sort of people who will hold your attempt to leave against you?

It’s not just money

In most instances, the biggest salary jumps are achieved by changing employers. If you’ve received a counter-offer, you’ve probably bent their arm. Consider if a short-term salary jump now will mean stagnation in the future.

You should also consider factors beyond the paycheque. What’s made you want to leave? Consider those reasons and whether they can be addressed by staying put.

Are you delaying the inevitable?

In our experience as a London recruitment agency, those who accept a counter-offer are often back looking for a new job within 6-12 months. In the current recruitment climate, that’s a gamble because we can expect the market to get harder for candidates before it gets better again. You don’t want to give up a good job offer just to be back here again in the near future.

How will you be motivated?

Taking on a new role is hugely motivating. Learning new things, meeting new people, and getting stuck into new challenges can really fire you up. Are you going to feel the same sticking with your current employer, or are you already struggling to feel motivated?


Finally, imagine yourself staying with your current employer — really envisage it. Now ask yourself if you’ll regret not taking this new opportunity? Shake off new job nerves and picture it within the concept of regret. This can shine a powerful light on what you should do.

Career development does usually involve changing employers and stepping out of your comfort zone. We can help you secure PA and office support jobs in London. Register today.


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