Last week we saw a statistic which may be staggering to some, but not to us. The statistic, from the Wall Street Journal, said that of the 50% of professionals who accepted an employer's counter-offer, 93% left the company within 18 months, only 7% stayed with the company. In our experience accepting a counter offer rarely works.

What is an employer's counter-offer?

An employer's counter-offer is an offer tabled by your current employer to rival the one you've received from an alternative future employer in order to convince you to stay. These counter-offers can take many forms: a straight salary increase, additional company benefits, a promotion or new job title, additional responsibility, change in role, more involvement in projects that interest you or any combination of these. 

Reasons to keep you 

Employer's counter-offers can be confusing. Leaving a job, especially if you've been there for some time, is difficult. Being put under pressure to stay, and having your reasons for leaving challenged or undermined, does not make easy listening. As enticing as counter-offers may appear to be, it is important to keep a clear head, take a step back and consider the options available. Reasons why an employer might want you to stay include:-

  • Replacing an employee can be expensive
  • They have not got time to re-recruit right now
  • They want you to finish the project you're working on
  • They don't have the time to train someone new at the moment
  • Losing staff might reflect badly on them

Should I stay or should I go?

There is rarely a good reason to accept a employer's counter-offer and stay where you are. You wanted to move, you've been through the recruitment process, been successful and have scored a job that meets your criteria. Think about these factors:-

  • From the day of your resignation, your loyalty will remain in question
  • The employer will make a counter-offer reluctantly
  • A counter-offer is tabled by your current employer to rival the one you've received from your future employer in order to convince you to stay. After all, you do not really want to be there, do you?
  • Your boss will possibly start casting around for your replacement immediately – whether you stay or not
  • Why are they offering you what you deserve now, rather than before your resignation?
  • Has the real reason you resigned been adequately addressed?
  • How guilty do you really feel? After all, should you not be putting yourself first?
  • Would the company think twice about getting shot of you if the chips were down?


Rocky ride ahead

Do not let an unexpected employer's counter-offer stop you in your tracks. Loyalty is a two-way street and your ultimate loyalty is to yourself and your family. There is a reason why you started to apply for alternative jobs and you should never lose sight of this. Take it in your stride, thank your employer for the opportunity and reaffirm your intention to leave. Stand your ground.