Counter-Offer… Just say “No”


Accepting a Counter-Offer from your current employer, after you have announced that you wish to resign… is high risk. Companies, when about to lose a critical member of staff, will often use a Counter-Offer to simply solve their short-term problem, not to fix your long-term issues.

“In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or step back into safety.” Abraham Maslow

Here in Indonesia, for a lot of Executive roles there is still a talent supply and demand issue, whereby the supply of talent is restricted, with relatively few people possessing the perfect background and skills needed for a leadership role, but demand from companies for that type of hire is high.

As such, as Executive Headhunters, we often face a situation whereby a candidate has committed to join a new company, has signed the offer letter and then meets with their current boss to resign and during the resignation process their current boss offers a Counter-Offer.

A Counter-Offer is when your current employer knows that you wish to resign and based on this information decides to provide you with a better salary or promotion, something designed to make you stay. In very simple terms, you leaving your current company to join a new company causes your current boss a headache so they try to keep you and prevent your exit.

When you resign from a job if your current boss makes a counter-offer, our strong advice, based on years of experience, is stand firm and say “No thank you” — they are only thinking about themselves and their needs, not what is best for you.

Having spoken to thousands of executive candidates over the years, these are some of the most common reasons that we hear for why a candidate has been open to a new job opportunity:

  • Feeling a bit stagnant in current job so seeking new challenges / further professional development / career growth
  • Feeling underpaid or unappreciated
  • Slow or no career progression
  • Bored with the current job scope, feeling every day is the same
  • Political culture at work / Problems with the corporate culture
  • Difficult relationship with boss or colleagues
  • Long travel distance to work / long travel time each day

Whatever the reasons an Executive Candidate has for exploring new job opportunities, most of the time the person would have already attempted to resolve some of their underlying issues / problems, but certain things of course are beyond anyone’s control… Hence you are open to moving jobs and joining a new company, taking on a new opportunity.

When you resign, your current employer may try to provide a Counter Offer as of course you leaving their team creates an immediate short-term problem for them, they now have a critical vacancy and will have to find a replacement, which takes time and cost.

But, please stay strong, do Not accept or entertain any counter-offer. In Indonesia, indeed globally, it is statistically shown that any candidate who accepts a counter-offer from their current employer would, for various reasons, return within months to start their job search again, because accepting a counter-offer is typically a short-term solution to long-term underlying issues.

Statistics have shown that four out of five people who accept counter-offers leave or are asked to leave their current firm within the next year.

Here are the 10 reasons why you should NOT accept a Counter-Offer:

1.     Nothing actually changes at your current firm except maybe your salary or title. The underlying issues that prompted you to consider other job opportunities will remain there – things and people don’t change overnight.

2.     Your future employer sees a potential in you that your current employer does not see. Taking on a new hire is a risk, if your future employer is willing to take the risk to groom and grow your potential, why not seize the opportunity?

3.     Great things never come from staying within your comfort zone. You may feel familiar and comfortable with your current employer, but does it bring you the job satisfaction that you desire? Often, a change will bring personal growth and transformation.

4.     If the counter-offer involves a pay-rise, well that means you have not previously been paid what you are worth. If your current employer is willing to now suddenly adjust your salary up, because you “threaten” to resign, then your current employer is knowingly underpaying you for your talent and efforts, an indication of non-appreciation of you.

5.     Most companies have salary budgets for each level of position in the organisation. So if they suddenly increase your pay in a counter-offer… you might end up having a lower adjustment when your next pay revision or review is due. Would you be happy then?

6.     If you accept a counter-offer, you  should be aware that trust will likely be weakened between you and your current employer. Resignation shows that you are willing to move on, naturally it is interpreted as a “lack of loyalty”, so your current employer may now question if they can count on you, which will likely limit your future growth in the firm

7.     Your current employer may question your real commitment knowing now that you can be “bought with a counter-offer”. People who accept a counter-offer often feel that they have been “bought” rather than rewarded for the work they have done. This dissatisfaction will eventually affect your sense of belonging to the company.

8.     On average, around 80% of those who accept counter-offers re-start their job search within 3 months. You may genuinely still do your best for your current employer, but your employer and co-workers may treat you differently now that you have shown a “lack of loyalty”.

9.     Your “lack of loyalty” may likely put you at the top of the list if and when they are looking to reduce the number of employees when times get tough.

10. Counter offers are usually just a “delaying tactic” by your current employer to give your current employer time to find a replacement for you, in a timescale that works for them, at a lower salary.

In essence, accepting counter-offers is very high risk! Once you have taken the step of accepting a new job opportunity – for very good reasons that you have thought long and hard about and in detail – and have gone to your current boss and stated that you wish to resign, it is important that you stay strong and firm.

If your current boss makes a counter-offer, remember, their objective is to solve a short-term problem for themselves and our strong advice is to say “thank you very much but No”.

Please remember – you have every right to leave a company to pursue new personal and career growth objectives.

Stay strong as you go through the resignation process, you have accepted a new job for lots of good reasons, don’t let your current boss confuse you or try to now suddenly “reward you”, as it means you have been under-appreciated until now.

For Potential Clients and Candidates you can view my professional bio here or connect with me on Linkedin. Also you can follow our Company Linkedin Page.

ProCapita Indonesia