The Perils of Accepting a Counter-offer

What is a Counter-offer?

As a Recruiter, I see candidates accepting new job offers every day. They go through the sometimes long and arduous process of beginning a job search, applying, interviewing through multiple stages, negotiating the right package and eventually come to the conclusion that the opportunity they have on the table from another firm is better than their current position. Therefore, after some time to think, they decide to accept the offer.

What comes next, at times, can be the most difficult bit; being faced with a counter-offer from your current firm. This often involves an improved package, more flexibility, a promotion and a multitude of benefits thrown your way to stay with your current employer. Therefore, on the face of it, the easier option is to not move.

Stop and Think

My advice is, and always will be, stop and think. Ask yourself the following questions to evaluate your decision, confirming that in most scenarios you should reject a counter-offer. ‘Why did I consider leaving in the first place?’, ‘what will happen if I accept the counter-offer and stay?’, ‘where will I be in 2 years from now, either in my current firm or my new firm?’ and ‘why didn’t my current company offer me these new terms before this counter-offer?’. These four points should remind you of why you were looking to move in the first place and why your current company didn’t value you enough to give you these added benefits before you handed in your notice.

Choosing the Correct Option for You

Counter-offers happen often, especially when the market is competitive and new hires are hard to find. This is due to the costs associated in hiring a new member of staff being greater than the counter-offer. Therefore, the company itself benefits from you accepting the counter-offer, but does it benefit you? It is important to consider whether it is worth negotiating or if moving is the answer.

Of the professionals who accept a counter-offer, 93% leave their job within 18 months. This is commonly due to the previous issues arising once again, leaving you feeling undervalued and unhappy in your role. Often counter-offers provide an increase in the salary you previously worked for, but it is important to look at the more emotional aspects of your decision and whether the important changes you require will be met. For example, were you looking for career progression and training from the other company and will your current firm offer this?

Trust Your Instincts

When faced with a counter-offer, you should ask yourself if the counter-offer feels genuine and suggests long-lasting change beyond the salary increase. If you feel underappreciated, then it is unlikely you will see the change you desire at your current firm and it may be the right time for you to move on.  


Tom Crea specialises in helping Solicitors find new roles across the UK.

If you are considering a move, or would like more information about the opportunities available to you, drop Tom an email at

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