How to Successfully Navigate a Counter-Offer

1-2 minutes

What is a counter-offer?

A counter-offer is when your current employer offers you something to stay within the firm after you have already accepted an offer of employment with another firm.

Usually, this involves some form of bargaining chip to convince you not to leave. Common examples are salary increases, increased flexibility or promises for career advancement.

There are pros and cons to accepting a counter-offer and if you are offered one, it would be prudent to consider all angles before making your final decision. 

Should I accept a counter-offer?

In the short term, counter-offers can be enticing. However, it is important to consider the long-term implications of your career, professional relationships and personal integrity before accepting them. 

It’s important to remember that while your employer may express regret at your departure, their aim is to mitigate disruption and expenses associated with recruitment. Offering additional perks may be beneficial for them, but not necessarily for you in the long term.

What do the stats say?

There is some fairly compelling research to suggest that accepting a counter-offer might not be the best decision. Research suggests

  • 80% of candidates who accept a counter-offer from their current employer end up leaving within 6 months.
  • 9 out of 10 candidates who accept a counter-offer leave their current employer within 12 months.
  • 50% of candidates who resign will be offered a counter-offer by their employer.
  • 50% of candidates who accept a counter-offer are job searching again within 60 days.

Pros of accepting a counter-offer

The pros of accepting a counter-offer include:

  • Salary increase.
  • Promotion.

Salary increase 

By accepting a counter-offer, you could increase your salary quickly. However, it’s important to consider whether they only value your worth higher because you have found a new job. This is particularly important if you have previously asked for a salary increase and it has been rejected. When the time comes to ask for a salary increase in the future, you may find yourself back in the same position. 


By accepting a counter-offer, you may be offered a promotion, training, mentorship or more responsibility. In this instance, it’s important to consider if the promotion is in line with your career goals and aspirations, and reflects within your salary.  

Cons of accepting a counter-offer

The cons of accepting a counter-offer include:

  • Papering over the cracks.
  • Career alignment.
  • Job security.
  • Future career growth.
  • Repercussions.
  • Ethical concerns.

Papering over the cracks

A counter-offer may address some of your immediate job concerns but it will not address underlying issues such as an unhappy work culture, job dissatisfaction, toxic work environment, location of office or lack of progression. Reasons why you wanted to leave in the first place may resurface quickly after you accept a counter-offer. 

Career alignment

If the new job aligns better with your long-term career goals, accepting a counter-offer may hinder your professional development and personal satisfaction.

Job security

As you have actively searched for alternative employment, your employer may question your commitment and loyalty to their business. Should the business make changes or restructure in the future, you could be a target for layoffs. 

Future career growth

By looking for employment elsewhere, your employer may now see you as disloyal or unreliable and they could limit your future career progression.


Your employer may see the counter-offer as a temporary solution and look to find a replacement behind the scenes. They may also not fulfil the promises made in the counter-offer.

Ethical concerns

Some may view accepting a counter-offer as unethical, especially if you've already committed to a new employer. The world of accounting is relatively small and it may damage your professional reputation and integrity.

What should you do? 

Generally speaking, accepting would be the ‘easy’ option. You won’t need to upheave your working life from one business to another and go through the process of being the ‘newbie.’

Humans are creatures of habit and it can seem tempting to stick it out with your current employer. However, the stats for doing so are quite damning. 

To ensure you make the right decision, you should reflect on your motivations for resigning in the first instance. Nobody knows your work situation and career aspirations better than you. 

Take the time to consider the pros and cons of accepting or rejecting a counter-offer. Ultimately, your decision needs to align with your values, career aspirations, and overall wellbeing. 

Who is Spencer Clarke Group?

Established in 2017, we’re a vibrant and progressive recruitment agency based in the heart of the North West. 

We continually reimagine the recruitment process to challenge convention and defy expectations; from creating a better recruitment experience to remodelling employee engagement, we thrive off doing things differently and turning heads along the way. 

We operate in two sectors:

Private Sector

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