The Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Never Accept a Counteroffer

Mike Pak | PHM Search | Engineering Recruiters | We Get Engineers
September 3 4 years ago

Change can be scary when you finally decide to make that career move for a brighter future. While the reasons for wanting to leave may vary—career advancement, better lifestyle fit, greater benefits or compensation package—one constant will likely hold true: when you approach your current employer about tendering your resignation, you will be met with a tempting counteroffer. Should you find yourself in this quagmire of uncertainty, fear not! There are 3 compelling reasons why you should trust your initial instinct to search for a more enriching opportunity and not settle for your employers last minute attempts to pacify you.

1. A counteroffer is a short term fix that rarely addresses the reasons you are dissatisfied.

“A quick fix for a long-standing problem only works for the short term.”       Dr. Jacinta Mpalyenkana

While more money, or a new title may be enticing, let’s consider why companies want to negotiate counteroffers in the first place. Simply put, it is a costly headache. It is easier to keep you, their current employee, than undertake the hassle of finding your replacement. Interviewing, onboarding and training someone new has a hefty price tag as well and up to 213% if that’s a senior executive’s salary. Moreover, some industries have a limited talent pool, which can make finding a replacement very difficult. If there is a remote chance that this course of action can be avoided, your boss is going to take it. Used as retention tools, counteroffers may seem on the surface to meet your needs, but they are really about meeting the needs of the company, at the time.

Also, most of the time the counteroffer does not work, and there are some pretty hard numbers to substantiate this. To start, 50% of candidates who resign will be counter-offered. Of those candidates that accept, 80% will end up leaving their place of employment within 6 months, and 90% within 12 months. For those candidates who accept a counteroffer, 50% are active again within 60 days. Another study goes further to say that while 89% of individuals who accept counteroffers are “gone within 6 months” a greater 93% ... “leave either voluntarily or involuntarily within 18 months of the counter-offer.” These numbers point to a pretty grim outlook for the candidate, no matter how you measure the value of the counteroffer. Regardless, you should take some comfort in knowing that you are not alone if you are among the 39% of employees that feel undervalued at work, and choose to look elsewhere for more rewarding opportunities.

2. It’s too little, too late.

“Show me the money!”  Cuba Gooding Jr. as Rod Tidwell (Jerry Maguire)

Should you find yourself considering a counteroffer, is more money what may inspire you to accept? And if so, have you considered what amount may appease you? Given the annual inflation rate in Canada of 2% (July 2019) and domestic annual salaries increase of 2.8% (2019), would you consider a counteroffer of a 10% salary increase (more than 3X the 2019 raise average)? Let us say you are a highly valued employee, making $75,000 a year. A 10% increase would give you an extra (net) amount of about $200 per paycheque. Is $100 a week going to solve the underlying issues that motivated you to find alternate work? Is it going to make you feel more appreciated, or help carve out a more interesting career path? Likely not.

3. Your reputation is priceless.

“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”  Benjamin Franklin

Perhaps more important than any dollar amount that could factor into your decision, is your reputation. Once you have let your boss know that you are not happy, they will forever look at you through a different lens. They will no longer trust your commitment to the company and your sense of loyalty will forever be in question. You could be labelled a ‘problem employee’ and find yourself at the top of the redundancy list going forward. Your colleagues will also question your ability to be a team player and see your attempt to secure a higher salary through a counteroffer as unscrupulous. Finally, the world can be a small place. Your new employer has a long memory and won’t forget that you accepted a job from them and then changed your mind. Your name in the larger networking community may also be tarnished, as will your ability to find meaningful work in the future, should the need arise.

“Self-trust is the first secret of success.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

As scary as change can be, inaction and continuing to accept the status quo can be potentially scarier and harmful to your career progression. While no one can predict the future, you need to trust yourself, and the reasons that you were motivated to look for a better opportunity in the first place. You are worth the risk, so go for it. You will achieve a greater sense of satisfaction in moving forward with your life than stagnating in an unfulfilling work environment.

At PHM Search | Simply Technical we believe the grass can be greener and work tirelessly to deliver meaningful work/life solutions for our valued candidates. Contact us ( to help you objectively weigh your options and guide you to ensure a seamless transition out of your old position and on to the new.




Mike Pak | PHM Search | Engineering Recruiters | We Get Engineers