Should I stay or should I go? The counter offer: what to do

Congratulations on getting a new job!

It's a time of great excitement, especially now you have taken the plunge and handed in your letter of resignation. Hang on, what's this? Your boss has come back with a counter offer and now your elation has turned to turmoil. Should you stay or should you go? 

A counter offer gives you a lot to consider, especially if it was out of the blue. The pressure is now on to make the right decision, so what should you do? 

Why are you being made a counter offer?

First things first - why is your employer making you this offer? Is it because they genuinely would be sorry to see you and your incredible skill set go out the door? Or is it a case of too little, too late. Why are they only now prepared to review your salary or position? 

Counter offers have become increasingly common as employers attempt to retain strong performers that they have invested time, resources and training in over the years. They may also fear the consequences of the resignation, especially if the individual is heading off to a competitor. 

What should you do in your situation? The truth is that only you can answer that question, as everyone has different circumstances, but with some careful thought you can make the right call. Establishing whether the offer is a knee-jerk reaction or that you are genuinely valued can be a huge factor in helping you make up your mind.

Do you want a comfort zone or career progression? 

In all likelihood, the counter offer you have been made probably represents an increase in your salary, which either matches or even improves upon your new opportunity. The 10 per cent pay rise you would receive in the new role now doesn’t look as appealing as the 20 per cent being tabled by your current, but money isn’t everything when it comes to a change in your career. 

Of course, a counter offer is often very tempting. After all, you know the company, the job and the people - plus there will be none of the fear and trepidation that comes with being the ‘newbie’. In many respects, it is the safe option, but it isn’t always the right one.  Forcing yourself outside of your comfort zone is often the best way to grow as a person and a professional. 

The question to ask yourself is: why do you want to leave your current job? 

Five factors that prompt you to change your job:

You actively sought out other employment. You went through that scary interview process and you whooped with joy when your recruitment consultant said you'd been successful. Yet the counter offer has naturally given rise to doubt. The answers to the following questions could help you make up your mind: 

  1. Does the reputation, profile, ethos and culture of the new company sit well with your aspirations and expectations?
  2. Will your new remit give you the scope to broaden your experience and gain more specialist knowledge that will make you more marketable in the future?
  3. Is the new role a step up and does it give you a challenge that excites?
  4. Are your future prospects better at the new company?
  5. What are the short and long term financial prospects?

Be honest with yourself and you will make the right choice

Ask yourself each of these questions and try to be as objective as you can. This isn't about taking risks or playing safe but challenging yourself to understand what it is you really want. Talk it over with your family, friends and trusted colleagues, draw up a list of pros-and-cons. Tell your recruitment consultant and obtain their expert advice.   This is a big decision, so take time to carefully consider your options. Do this, and you'll make the right decision.

If you'd like to talk to one of our recruitment consultants, or even browse through our vacancies, please do get in touch.