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Why Counteroffers Aren’t Worth the Virtual Paper They Are Written On

TRU Staffing Partners July 26, 2022 at 8:00 AM

As the Great Reshuffling continues after nearly two years of flux, we still see record-high numbers of people quitting current jobs to take higher paying, less stressful, or more fulfilling roles. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that nearly 17 million people resigned between July and October 2021, and Gallup research shows there are no signs this trend will stop. This sweeping era of change is making many employers desperate to hold onto their valued talent. Many of them resort to making lucrative counteroffers in a last-ditch effort to avoid losing employees. But what happens when you accept a counteroffer?

Don't Delay the Inevitable

In almost every circumstance, you should not accept a counteroffer. National Business Employment Weekly says that an estimated 89% of employees who accept a counteroffer are no longer at that job six months later, and 50% are back searching for jobs within 60 days of accepting a counter and regretting the opportunity they turned down. Accepting that counteroffer is just delaying the inevitable.

Unless the only reason you are leaving your job is for the money, all the other reasons you were going to quit don’t go away, and in a few months, you’re going to find yourself wanting to leave again. But there are other issues, too: it’s not just employees leaving—often they’re not in the same job six months later because they get fired or laid off.

Employers lose trust in employees who quit once. These employers know what a tough time they’ll have securing new candidates and give counteroffers to get themselves out of the immediate difficulty of finding and training a replacement hire. But in the meantime, you can be sure that they’re quietly looking for a replacement. According to the Harvard Business Review, 80 % of senior executives lose trust in employees who accept a counteroffer, and 71% question the loyalty of an employee who would quit and then accept a counter.

Trust is Lost Between Both Sides

So you’ve got to be careful and keep looking forward. Once your employer knows you are capable of quitting, the trust is hard to rebuild. That being said, if you are unhappy in your role, have the integrity to discuss it with your supervisor BEFORE you accept a new job and tender your resignation. This allows your employer to put together a better offer for you without feeling under the gun and can possibly lead to a new understanding. Open conversations between an employee and employer can lead to lasting satisfaction and longevity with the original company. But as we’ve seen in the statistics, the time to have that conversation is NOT after accepting another role and giving notice.

Other issues with old jobs surpass salaries. Job seekers are looking for more remote or hybrid work as well as a better work-life balance. The pandemic showed employees they could work more effectively from anywhere without the stress of commuting and less personal time. Work-life balance is winning in the new job market, with 63% of job seekers saying this factor has the greatest impact on their job search, beating out even compensation and benefits.

The desire for remote work is showing up in the job search data, with 65% of global job searches focusing on remote-only jobs. If your old employer didn’t budge on these issues before you quit, they are unlikely to change permanently when you accept a counteroffer. There is no going back to the same-old-same-old.

What background checks cover

If you are presented with a counteroffer, remember that the issues you faced, the problems you encountered, and the role itself will not change. Your skills and experience have gotten you a new, amazing role. In fact, you had the winning skills over many other candidates, created a masterful resume, interviewed with grace and aplomb, and were offered the job that will change your career forever. Don’t lose that opportunity for very short-term gain!

Here is What to Do

As soon as you receive an offer you are delighted with, accept it! If you’ve worked with an agency like TRU Staffing Partners, they have negotiated the best possible financial and benefit-laden offer your new employer can give. As soon as you can, finalize all paperwork, return all forms and provide any outstanding information as soon as you can. Then do the following:

  • Proactively decline counteroffers. First of all, you can avoid even the temptation of a counteroffer by letting your employer know when you quit that you will not consider counters.
  • Make a “quit list.” Another thing you can do is make a “quit list” – before you quit, list all of the reasons you are leaving your job and all of the reasons you are looking forward to your new job. If you receive a counteroffer, keep this list handy and use it to remind yourself that it’s not just about the money.
  • Avoid negativity. At the end of the day, you should leave on a high note. Once word gets out that you are leaving, unhappy co-workers may think you are the perfect person to complain and commiserate with regarding all that is wrong with your organization. Be wary of joining them in their grumbling. You never know if you might someday wish to work for your present organization again, or work with someone who leaves the organization and goes to work somewhere else. You certainly do not want for anything you say on your way out the door to come back and haunt you.
  • Don’t look back. Lastly, once you’ve made up your mind, don’t look back. Close out your old job professionally but focus on the new job that’s ahead of you and get ready for your fresh start, without regret. 

Reach Out to TRU for Help 

If you are considering changing jobs and would like representation, reach out to TRU recruiters to help guide your process. Our deeply experienced talent agents will put you and all your work in front of our A+ clients and determine the best fit for you.