Why You Should Never Accept A Counter Offer

Guidance for Job Seekers

Why You Should Never Accept A Counter Offer

Many of our construction engineering candidates have received a counter offer when they hand in their notice to go to a new job. If this happens to you, should you take it? In this post we explore why it’s generally a bad idea.

counter offer

A counter offer can put a real spanner in the works of your career plans. Having set your course on moving on to a new role in construction engineering, suddenly a new proposition is on the table. What do you do?

Having accepted a new position at a different firm, you’ll need to sit down with your current supervisor and break the news that you are leaving. Often you will be greeted with congratulations and well wishes, or maybe you will face resentment and anger from a toxic boss. But there is a third, less common possibility: your superiors might offer you a counter offer.

Rather than being content to let you and the value you bring to the team walk out the door, your boss will offer you a larger pay package for the same position you do already in return for your ongoing commitment. You may even be offered additional benefits or added responsibilities that you have been keen to acquire.

Counter Offers – A Good Opportunity?

A counter offer may seem like an excellent opportunity – after all, you can stay put in your familiar role, seated at your familiar desk, surrounded by familiar faces and receive a substantial raise and/ or bonus? Sounds like a dream, right?

Wrong. Accepting a counter offer is almost always the wrong idea, precisely because of the aforementioned familiarity. It is always difficult to turn down the prospect of more money for the same amount of work, and yet you need to take stock of the reasons why a counter offer is a step backwards, not forwards in your career.

Reasons Not to Accept a Counter Offer

Here are a few reasons why accepting that counter offer is often the last thing that you should do.

  • The relationship may be damaged beyond repair – Your boss may have offered that new salary as a kneejerk reaction to you handing in you notice. If you accept, do not be surprised if resentment brews and trust is broken. After all, your team now knows you’ve been looking to leave.
  • It may stunt your career – You were planning to leave for a reason, most likely because you want to advance your career with new and exciting opportunities at a new organisation. Don’t let a little bit of money cancel your career plans. It is likely that a few months down the line those reasons you had for moving on will return and you’ll be job hunting again.
  • You were worth this amount the entire time – Undoubtedly, you will begin to wonder why you were not paid this new amount earlier. What does it say about your employer that it took the threat of you leaving to encourage them to pay you what you have been worth all along?
  • You may ignore the underlying issues – In addition to wanting new career opportunities, you may have been looking for a new position in order to escape a toxic or dull work environment. While the thrill of a raise and the flattery of a bidding war may feel good, you will soon be back in the same old predicament.
  • You may be a mediocre money saver – Even if you feel flattered by this newfound attention, remember – offering you even a substantial raise is often much cheaper than recruiting and hiring a new employee to take your place.

You are worth more than a counter offer – follow your instinct and take the new position.

Have you ever been in this situation? How did it work out? We would be interested to hear of any examples where a counter offer has resulted in a successful new start with an existing employer. Leave a comment below.

If you’re an employer you may be interested in our post called What To Do When An Employee Says They’re Going To Another Job – exploring this issue from another perspective.