Resignation and The Counteroffer

Written by: Lucy Walters
Published on: 30 Nov 2021

Resignation and The CounterofferA counteroffer is typically given by an employer after you’ve handed in your resignation, and usually takes the form of a pay rise or promotion. The intent is to convince you to reconsider your resignation by matching or exceeding the benefits promised by your new role.

67% of hiring managers surveyed by LiveCareer on the topic of counteroffers said they had extended a counteroffer for this reason at least once during their career. Although there are a whole range of reasons why an employer might give a counteroffer, this survey found the top 5 reasons to be:

  • To retain talent (57%)
  • To retain employee’s job knowledge (49%)
  • To save time hiring a replacement (43%)
  • The employee contributes significantly to the company (42%)
  • To save money on hiring a replacement (32%)

The survey also showed that the top 5 counteroffers given were:

  • 10% pay rise (36%)
  • More holiday (31%)
  • 5% pay rise (29%)
  • Transition to a new role (29%)
  • More flexible/remote working opportunities (26%)

Although these offers can be tempting, there’s a lot you need to consider before you jump into accepting a counteroffer and declining your new job offer…

Receiving Your Offer

Find Out the Terms of Your Offer

Make sure you fully understand the terms of the offer, including how it will affect your career long term. For example, just because you’ve been offered a pay rise now, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be getting more regular pay reviews in the future. Similarly, although you might have been offered a promotion now, this doesn’t mean there’ll be more opportunities for progression in the future. Ask yourself if you’ve been offered a short-term distraction or long-term change.

Ask Yourself Why Your Employer is Counteroffering

Ask yourself why your employer is giving you a counteroffer, and why it has taken you threatening to leave for them to give you this offer. Consider whether you feel like a valued member of the organisation, or if you’re just being asked to say because it’s convenient and cost-effective. If the latter is the case, ask yourself whether accepting the counteroffer is in your best interest.

Look at What’s Happening Around You

When it comes to deciding whether or not a counteroffer is being given as a short-term distraction or long-term change, look at what’s happening around you, especially if you’ve not been in the company for a long time. Ask yourself:

  • Is it common for people to receive pay rises and promotions?
  • How long do employees typically wait for new opportunities?
  • What is the organisation’s turnover like?
  • How often do people move around in the department?

If you’re not seeing much change around you, then it’s more likely that your counteroffer is a one-off.

Remember Your Career Goals

Don’t let your judgement be clouded by the promise of a bigger salary or other reward. If you haven’t already, make a list of your career goals, both big and small. This is the list you can use to assess each job offer and decide which one will help you to achieve your goals the most, looking at things like company culture and career progression as well as salary and benefits.

Remind Yourself Why You Wanted to Leave

There must have been a reason why you started looking for new jobs, so remind yourself of what these reasons were. If you’re having trouble remembering, ask the people close to you what they think – you might have moaned a lot more about aspects of your current job than you realise!

Think About What Attracts You to the New Role

Think about everything that prompted you to apply for the new position. If it was purely for the salary, then you might not need to think too hard about accepting your counteroffer. If it was for the company culture or the chance to work with some exciting clients/projects/products, then these things are much harder for your current employer to match.

Consider the Implications of Staying

Although your manager will likely be pleased that you’ve decided to stay, your initial resignation could have an impact on some of your workplace relationships and the opportunities that are open to you. If you have a good relationship with your manager and they’re understanding about why you initially wanted to resign, this may not be an issue. If you don’t, your initial resignation might create some resentment if you stay, and you might find you need to rebuild trust and prove your commitment to the company.

Declining Your Offer

If, after following the above steps, you decide to decline your employer’s counteroffer, here are some things you can do to make the process much easier for everyone involved…

Express Your Gratitude

Let your employer know that you appreciate their counteroffer and acknowledge that it was generous for them to try and accommodate your needs. Be professional and make this rejection as positive as you can – you don’t want to leave on bad terms.

Stay Committed to Your Job

Make it clear that you’ll still be committed to the role during your notice period and make any handovers as easy as possible, perhaps by offering to write some key notes for a training manual for your replacement. You could even offer a referral of someone you know to make it easier for them to find someone new.

Be Clear

Be clear that you’re rejecting the counteroffer. Instead of saying something along the lines of “I’m not sure I can accept” say “I have decided to decline the offer.” Don’t drag out the process any longer than it has to be by making room for miscommunication.

Give an Honest Reason

Be prepared to give a reason as to why you’re accepting the counteroffer, but make sure to emphasise that your decision was final. You could say something along the lines of:

“Your offer of a 5% pay rise was very generous, however X company will provide me with the opportunity to work on X which is something I would really like to move towards in my career.”

You might not be expected to give a reason, but it can make it easier to close this chapter if you do.

Express Willingness to Keep in Touch

Remember that your colleagues in your current job are also valuable connections to have in your professional network, so express your willingness to keep in touch. This might make it easier to get a good reference in the future too, or even to re-join the company in the future.

Think in the Long-Term…

Up to 80% of employees who accept counteroffers will leave their current job within 6 months, with 9 out of 10 leaving within 12. This is usually because counteroffers are often a short-term solution, distracting employees from the real reasons why they wanted to leave in the first place.

Take the time to really consider the counteroffer and what it means for your long-term career progression, and remember to look at everything each company offers beyond competitive salaries and good benefits packages.

Visit PharmiWeb.Jobs for more careers advice or to start your pharma job search.