5 Reasons Not to Accept a Counteroffer

woman considering a counteroffer

Even though a counteroffer may seem attractive, there are many reasons why you should not accept one. 

What is a counteroffer? 

A counteroffer is an updated offer from your current employer, designed to entice you to stay with the company after you’ve announced your intention to take another job. 

So many questions arise when our candidates receive a counteroffer: 

  • Should I stay with the company I know?  
  • Would it be better to move on to a new opportunity? 
  • What should I do?  

Often, the negative impacts of accepting a counteroffer outweigh the positives.  

5 Reasons not to accept a counteroffer 

1. You will be seen as a flight risk going forward

According to the Harvard Business Review, around 50% of employees who accept counteroffers leave for a new job within 12 months. The secret is out. Now your company knows that you have been looking elsewhere for a job. You may be considered as less loyal to the company now and in the future. 

Your resignation may be remembered when it comes time for promotions, raises, and opportunities. If you are a flight risk, they may not want to invest further with you since the potential for you to leave seems more likely. You’re likely to progress more at a job where you haven’t already threatened to quit.

2. A counteroffer does not resolve an underlying issue 

Typically, a counteroffer comes in the form of a salary increase. All the issues that caused you to search for a job in the first place are still present: 

  • Lack of opportunity?  
  • Toxic work environment?  
  • Limited work-life balance?  

These issues won’t be fixed overnight by a counteroffer. The new offer doesn’t guarantee job satisfaction. 

3. A counteroffer can be a stalling device to find your replacement 

Sometimes employers will use a counteroffer to cover the time they’ll need to find a good replacement for you. They already know you’re willing to leave, now they just need to pay you a little bit more until they find a candidate with a similar skill set that will take a lower salary. 

4. If you stay, it may be a while until you get another raise 

If your company had to make an enticing salary offer to get you to stay, first question why they didn’t offer it to you until the threat of you leaving came up? If you weren’t earning enough before the counteroffer, it might be worth considering leaving your job for another company that will appreciate and compensate you accordingly for your work.  

It’s also worth pondering what it will take to get another raise if you stay. How long will it be until you are given another sizable raise? What are the opportunities you will be able to have by staying at the company? 

5. Your current job doesn’t match your career goals 

Many times, a job search begins because your current role doesn’t fit with your long-term career goals. If you accept a counteroffer, you could be blocking yourself from achieving your career goals. 

You should stop to consider whether staying at your job or taking a new one will give you the opportunity to pursue your larger goals. There is no point in continuing to invest your time and energy in a job that you don’t want to be doing for the rest of your life. 

Take time to question whether your current job makes you happy and think back to why you wanted to quit in the first place.  

Need more convincing?  

Consider what goes through an employer’s mind when someone resigns: 

  • This is horrible timing for our team. 
  • I already have enough on my plate, I don’t need their work too. 
  • We’re already understaffed in our department. We don’t need another open position. 
  • This won’t look good on my upcoming review. 
  • Maybe I can keep them until I find a good replacement. 

An employer’s response is less about what they can do for you and more about what they can do to make things better for them and the team. 

What to expect in the counteroffer process

Generally, a company will be swift in assembling a counteroffer if they’re presenting one at all. Most counteroffers are sent within a week of resignation, but often between 1-3 days. 

Your boss may pull out all the stops to get you to stay. Here’s what an employer may say to keep you at the company: 

  • I thought you were happy working here. Let’s discuss it more before you make a final decision. 
  • What can we do to keep you here? 
  • We’ve had something special in mind for your growth within the company, you’re not going to find an opportunity like that anywhere else. 
  • You were going to get a raise later in the year, but we can implement it now. 

How to decline a counteroffer 

The situation may feel awkward, but the best way to approach rejecting a counteroffer is to be polite and direct.  

Tell your employer that you appreciate their offer. Express that you are grateful for what you have learned during your time at the company, but the new role offers something that is more important to your career. It could be a new opportunity, work-life balance, location, a new career path – whatever is most important to you. Make it clear that money is not the main motivator in your decision. 

A fresh start 

There are a lot of factors that you should evaluate when considering a counteroffer.  

If the reason you started looking for a new job in the first place goes beyond salary, it would be best to turn down a counteroffer. There may also be negative consequences to accepting a counteroffer. You may be considered less loyal, limit your opportunities for growth and development, underappreciated, and underpaid.  

A new opportunity may be the fresh start you need to achieve your career goals. 

Visit https://www.greenkeyllc.com/jobs/ to chase your fresh start today. 

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