Dealing with a Counter Offer

You think you have got through the hardest part of finding a new job; writing your CV, attending & succeeding at interview, being offered a fantastic position & resigning from your current company. Everything is complete. But it isn’t – your employer then presents you with an attractive offer to make you reconsider your resignation, leaving you in a difficult situation. Do you stay with your employer, or move on to your new position?

It is important that you weigh up both options very carefully, and consider both on their own merits. Ask yourself why you were looking for a new position in the first place, and then consider which offer is going to fulfil your requirements the most.

There is no definite answer to whether or not you should accept a counter offer – each situation is unique, but here at Magnus James we have witnessed many counter offer scenarios over the years, and here are our key points to consider as & when you are presented with the tricky decision.


It is a sobering statistic that 80% of people who have accepted a counter offer will not be at their current employer in six months and 93% will not be there in eighteen months’ time. This is because they will have subsequently realised why they were leaving in the first place and resigned again, chosen to move or worse still been moved on by their current employer.


Why does it take you to hand in your notice for your employer to offer you the recognition you deserve? If they honestly believed you were worth the increase in salary & responsibility, then they should have offered these to you long before now. One of the reasons you may be frustrated at the moment is because you are feeling undervalued, and if this is the case, you may be better off working for a company that is more proactive in helping you fulfil your career ambitions.


If you accept the counter offer, you are more likely to become ‘marked’.  This is very common in our experience. The next time a company has to downsize & let staff go, you are going to be an easy target. Your employer will remember that you were prepared to leave previously, and may even see this as a lack of loyalty.


If you are looking for a new job purely because of money, then it will be easier to just ask for a pay-rise. However, most of the time this is not the case, and there are other key factors involved in your decision to look else-where. When a counter offer is made on other key motivators, such as level of responsibility or work/life balance, these are often not addressed even when promised. In our experience, unless salary was the sole purpose wanting to leave, most people find themselves back looking for a new job a few months later when the situation that caused them to explore the market in the first place, still has not been resolved.


If you do accept a counter offer based on a significant increase in salary, you may be getting paid above the market average for someone of your skill set & experience. This could have a negative effect in the future when you are looking for an external move, as your current remuneration package will not accurately reflect your true value in the market.

Although the statistics speak for themselves, there are still many cases that have involved employees accepting counter offers and it has been a positive move. This is why we will always advise our candidates to give fair consideration to both offers before making an informed decision.

The counter offer scenario is never an easy one to handle, so if you are unsure with anything during the process, speak to your Magnus James consultant for further advice on how to proceed.