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Counter-offer, when is it right to say goodbye?

When should you really consider a counter offer?
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This is nothing new

A familiar scene in the recruitment world; you have accepted a job offer with a new company and the next step is to hand in your notice to your current employer. Shocked by the fact you wish to leave, they hit you with a counter-offer.

Dilemma strikes.

Moving jobs is a big decision and can be a very unnerving experience. Therefore, the offer of a pay rise and the feeling of being wanted can make it a little too easy to remain within your comfort zone and stay put.

However, it is important to note that handing in your resignation sets a precedent to your employer. It shows that you aren’t fully committed to their cause and can lead to additional trouble further down the line if you do stay, making you wish you’d taken the leap! What’s the best course of action?

The Knock-On Effect of Resigning

So, you’ve resigned and your current employer, quite rightly, is panicking that they’re losing such a valuable member of their team. They offer you the improved package or promotion you deserve, and you accept to live happily ever after in employment harmony… right?


This may be a good time to ask yourself a few questions;

  • Why has it taken me wanting to leave for them to offer me the improved salary, increased responsibilities or promotion I feel I deserve?
  • How long will it be before my next salary or performance review?
  • If the company hits difficult times, will my position be as secure as those of my peers?
  • If I take a day as annual leave, will they assume I am interviewing elsewhere?
  • Have I lost the trust I had?

Our intention here isn’t to scare you into rejecting the counter-offer. Our aim is to help you understand the implications of telling your company you are leaving, and then rescinding your resignation.

A counter-offer is often interpreted as a clear statement that a company values your work and are willing to do what they can to keep you with the company. However, in our experience, the counter-offer is often made as it is more cost and time effective than finding a replacement.

Is your environment optimised for your development?

Money doesn’t motivate anyone. It’s the access to everything that money grants us that is attractive.

Perhaps you are motivated by working within a team? And this was your reason for moving on, to find a new team or a different environment.

In 2004, a study conducted by Giovanni Asproni found that a team of Software Developers were at their most productive when they felt in full control of decisions made that would affect their working life.

Wanting to measure the Hawthorne effect within a software development environment, Giovanni gave the team autonomy over the length & frequency of their breaks within the working day.

The results showed that productivity had increased at each measured point. Even after the study, when their working day returned to as it was before, the team recorded their most productive period.

Motivational theorists Taylor, Maslow & Mayo are renowned for their studies in the workplace. Developing Scientific Management, The Hierarchy of Needs and The Human Relations School of thought respectively.

When to accept a counter-offer

The best way to accept a counter-offer is for it not to be a counter-offer at all.

Before you begin a job search it is best to have this conversation with your current employer. This way your employer can be proactive to the situation and seek a solution.

If your reason for seeking pastures new is down to a passion for working with the most bleeding edge tech on the market, your manager should be well informed. In letting them know, you will have a definitive answer on whether your employer can offer this to you, and you can discuss the roadmap together of how you will get there.

Equally, if you are unhappy with the management style then you must seek to resolve this. It can be a very big ask for a manager to alter their style in a flash, so it is more realistic to organise an internal move to work with a new manager or work on small changes that can be implemented gradually.

If relocation is the driving force behind your job search, have you spoken about the possibility of remote working with your current employer? This is something growing in popularity as technology allows us to be better connected even at a distance. 

Finally, if your salary expectations are the driving force behind your desire for a move, discuss the possibility of a salary review with your employer.

There is a stigma around asking for more money, but you must remember that as you develop professionally within your role, so it is down to you to make sure your employer is paying a fair salary for your work.

If you feel you've reached the end of the road with your current employer, then take a look at some of the opportunities we are currently working on... View Jobs

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