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How to respond to a counter offer

Once you have found a new job, you submit your resignation to your current employer. But what do you do if your employer doesn’t want to let you go and makes a counter offer? Is it wise to respond to this? The yearly salary survey of international recruitment Robert Walters firm shows us that only 13% accepts such a counter offer. The main reasons for considering to accept a counterproposal from your employer are a pay raise, a promotion and additional training. 

The "war for talent" is very intense right now, and organizations are struggling to attract and keep top talent on board. When a highly valued employee decides to leave, employers will do anything in their power to prevent this. Finding new staff costs time and money. It’s easier for an organization to make a counter offer hoping this will convince them to stay. 

Why accept? 

The most recent salary survey by international recruitment firm Robert Walters shows that 13% of professionals surveyed have ever accepted a counter-offer from their current employer. A whopping 86% says that a pay raise would be a decisive factor. A promotion, extra education and training are also important motivations. About 40% indicate that these factors could convince them to stay longer in the company. For 1 in 4, more vacation days is a reason not to leave. When their manager offers the opportunity to work remotely full time, 15% consider accepting the counter-offer. 

Why decline?

Now we know the main reasons why professionals would accept a counter offer, but as the statistics show us, this doesn’t happen often. Why do only 13% of employees respond to a counter offer? More than half of the professionals surveyed by Robert Walters say they are go-getters: once they have made a decision to leave, they stick with it. Even when the current job is not in line with long-term goals or when they are worried that they will not be happy in their job later, employees are not inclined to accept a counter-offer. About 10% fear that their loyalty will be questioned.  

Leaving anyway

About a third of the employees who accept a counteroffer end up leaving anyway within a year. Just over a quarter remain with their employer for more than 5 years. This is remarkable, because these employees were actually on the verge of leaving the company. To them, a counter-offer seems to offer a long term solution after all. Although this number seems relatively high, the vast majority of employees does not stay long after accepting a counteroffer. 

Salary is not everything 

Before accepting a counter-offer from your current employer, it is important to consider everything carefully. Do the benefits offered really outweigh the reasons why you wanted to leave in the first place? Did you feel that your accomplishments were appreciated and recognized before you announced your departure? If not, it's best not to accept the counteroffer. A higher salary may seem very attractive at first, but it should not be a deciding factor. You will earn more, but if you no longer get satisfaction from your job, you will eventually look for a new challenge.  

Fortunately, most professionals know this, and they don’t get fooled by the higher salary. Altough many of the questioned professionals indicated that a higher salary would make them consider accepting a counter-offer, almost 25% indicate that a higher salary is not their main motivation. Together with the other reasons by all the surveyed professionals for not accepting a counter offer, this outweighs the benefits of staying. This also explains why so few employees accept a counter offer. 

Be selfish 

Consider who benefits more from you staying. You or your boss? Don't be afraid to be a little selfish and choose the option that is best for your future career. Only when you have compared all the advantages and disadvantages that a counter-offer will bring, and you are sure that you are doing what is best for your future career, can you make a decision. 


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