Whether or not you should accept a counteroffer depends on a number of factors, such as your individual circumstances, your long-term career goals, and the specific details of the counteroffer. But before we dive into it, it’s important you fully understand what a counteroffer is and why they are put on the table.

What Is a Counteroffer?

In short, a counteroffer can be an offer made by your current employer in terms of a better salary package or career prospects. It typically occurs when an employee receives a job offer from a new prospective employer and then presents it to their current employer. The current employer might then respond with a counteroffer, which could include things like better salary, more employee benefits, improved working conditions, or other incentives in an attempt to persuade the employee to stay with the company instead of accepting the new job elsewhere.

an employee accepting a counteroffer
Ultimately, the decision to accept a counteroffer is a personal one and should align with your career goals and priorities.

The past three years have given us a lot to think about, leading to many people deciding to switch jobs. Though new opportunities aren’t as plentiful as they were at this time last year, they are certainly out there, especially for those with in-demand skills, such as tech workers.

However, as competition for talent remains fierce, the likelihood that your organisation may present you with a counteroffer will increase. And, considering the current uncertainty and volatility of the economy, many will be tempted to accept that offer.

But, if you’re fortunate to find yourself in the position of choosing between two roles, there are a few things you should consider.

Here are 4 things you should consider when a counteroffer has been made:

  1. Why did you look for a new job in the first place?
  2. What is on offer apart from salary?
  3. Why has the counteroffer only been made when you wanted to leave?
  4. What is best for you?

1. Why did you look for a new job in the first place?

First and foremost, you want to reflect on the reasons you decided to leave your current position in the first place and prompted you to seek a new job. Were you seeking fresh challenges, professional growth, or recognition?. Most counteroffers are built upon an increase in salary, but that isn’t the only thing that keeps people motivated at work.

Chances are, once the glow of the pay rise has worn off, you’ll have all the same feelings you had when you first wanted to leave – but now you’ll have to start your job search from scratch.

That said, if salary is your main motivator and your employer is offering the salary you desire, that might be enough to accept it.

2. What is on offer apart from salary?

But if salary isn’t the only motivator – what else is the business offering you? We wouldn’t blame anyone for accepting a ‘safe’ offer at the current time, but let’s think about the whole package. What other benefits will you be receiving? Will this offer include a promotion, a new challenge and more responsibility?

If there is enough included to form an attractive proposition, you may wish to consider accepting, but think carefully about all the things you wanted from a new role, not just the new salary.

It’s not just about salary

Consider the overall benefits package both companies are offering you, such as health insurance, bonuses, retirement plans or even stock options. You must ensure that the counteroffer includes benefits that are comparable or preferably better than those offered from the new employer.

You also want to evaluate other important things like the company culture and your fit within each organisation. Look at factors such as workplace environment, workplace support, values, work-life balance, company mission, and your relationships with colleagues and management.

Should you Accept a Counteroffer
Ask yourself this: Am I content with the culture of my current company or could I fit in better with the new organisation?

3. Why has the counteroffer only been made when you wanted to leave?

The fallout of 2020 has brought challenge after challenge for employees, and many have gone above and beyond to adapt to the changing needs of their organisations. If that includes you, why have you only been recognised now that you’ve indicated you want to leave?

All of us deserve to be appreciated at work, and no one wants to be caught in a cycle of having to secure a new opportunity elsewhere in order to be recognised in their existing role.

Consider the timing of the counteroffer, the reasons for your exit from your position, and the recognition that was given to you in your role before and after your intent to leave.

Get to know the new role and ask questions

Before making a decision, you really want to find out the ins and outs of the potential new role. Ask your potential new employer about rewards and recognition, and think carefully about how much you feel your current business values your input.

It’s essential to gauge how much your current organisation values your input and whether this recognition is genuine.

4. What is best for you?

Ultimately, though it may feel as though you’re in a tough spot and your decision might not be easy, it’s important to remember that you hold all the cards. Both organisations have recognised your value, so it’s up to you to decide upon the best move for you.

We understand it can be tempting to accept a counteroffer; it feels more ‘secure’, and there is likely to be more money on the table. But, more often than not, we know that the candidate that accepts the counteroffer will be job hunting again in the next few months – and it can be difficult to convince employers to take a second chance on candidates that have previously rejected them.

Whatever you decide, make sure you consider your long term happiness and career goals.

an employee discussing a counteroffer
Remember to differentiate between short-term gains (e.g. a higher pay) and long-term career prospects and whatever you decide, make sure you consider your long term happiness and broader career goals, rather than just immediate financial incentives.

Remember to be aware of any time constraints on your decision, as counteroffers may have expiration dates. Act within a reasonable timeframe to make an informed choice.

If you’re searching for a new role in the technology sector, don’t hesitate to contact one of our expert consultants at CPS for a confidential discussion.

For more tips and insights into the recruitment world, check out our career advice blog