February 9, 2020

Harrison Pham

Why you may want to reconsider accepting a counteroffer

As a recruiter, I’m often asked about counteroffers and whether it’s a good strategy to accept one from your current employer:

Q: I’ve been offered a new job and I am planning to give notice at my current company. I hesitate because I know that my employer won’t take the news well and there’s a chance he might extend a counteroffer. If that happens, I’m not sure how to respond. Any advice when it comes to the pros and cons of counteroffers?

In today’s job market, where the number of experienced professionals with specialized skills outweigh the supply, counteroffers have become more common. However, it’s important to ask yourself the following questions before accepting or declining one.

Harrison Pham is the Phoenix-based branch manager for The Creative Group and Robert Half Technology, business units of Robert Half.

1. Why are you leaving your current job?

Think about the reasons why you looked for another position. Did difficulties with your supervisor or coworkers, a lack of recognition, limited career advancement opportunities or the need for more work-life balance influence you? Even if the counteroffer is generous, it’s probably best to leave since more money likely won’t fix these issues. And, if left unaddressed, the odds are good that you will find yourself looking for a new job in the near future.

2. Will accepting the counteroffer affect your peer relationships? 

While counteroffers should be kept confidential, people do talk and what would happen if your coworkers found out? It’s highly likely that your boss didn’t offer them the same compensation and perks, so there may be hard feelings, which could make your working relationships uncomfortable.

3. Will staying limit your advancement opportunities?  

Will upper management question your motives if you decide to stay for the money? Your supervisor and his boss may question your long-term loyalty because they know you were planning to leave. You could ultimately be bypassed for important assignments, merit raises and promotions, and you could be more vulnerable if there are layoffs in the future.

4. Will you burn bridges with the other companies? 

Remaining with your current employer merely because of more compensation can damage any chances of employment with the firm you were planning to join – now or in the future. And if things don’t work out with your current employer, the prospective company may not be able to reinstate their initial offer.

While counteroffers can be tempting, it doesn’t speak well of your company’s commitment to retaining its best employees if it took a resignation for them to give you a raise. If you enjoy your job and value your relationships within the firm as well as the office location and work environment, but need to boost your salary, approach it in a different way.

While only you can decide whether to accept a counteroffer, in almost all cases, the best course of action is to thank your boss for the experience, tender your resignation, help with the transition and take that new job without regrets.

Harrison Pham is the Phoenix-based branch manager for The Creative Group and Robert Half Technology, business units of Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm. The Creative Group specializes in placing interactive, design and marketing talent while Robert Half Technology is a leading provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis. To learn more, visit www.roberthalf.com/az-phoenix.