Counter offers when resigning

For whatever reason, you make the decision that you’re ready for a new challenge, and you set out to secure a new role. Once you find something, you accept the offer and prepare to resign. You approach your boss with your letter of resignation in hand, ready to discuss your notice period and finish up. Then your boss swoops in and throws you a curve ball by putting a counter offer on the table. It doesn’t always happen, but you need to know what to do if it does.

Why don’t you just think about it?

Chances are, you’ve been thinking about this decision for some time, and you wouldn’t be resigning without 100% confidence in your decision. Don’t allow your boss to confuse you.

Don’t go!

Some managers will simply beg you not to leave. They will make promises and plead, and give you compelling reasons to stay. Some might try to manipulate you, “I can’t do it without you” or “how will we manage?” They might say things that will make you feel important and worthy to encourage you to stay. Be careful and don’t agree on anything on the spot.


It’s important to stick to your guns, because you may find that the discussion turns to why you’re leaving. Next thing, your boss is promising that things will change with a counter offer. The counter-offer might match or even exceed the pay at the new job. If that’s the main reason you’re quitting, consider accepting the counteroffer to stay. If the reason you are leaving involves more than salary, you’ll probably still want to resign. It is important when considering a counteroffer that you always keep in mind what your reasons were for pursuing a job with another company in the first place. Taking salary aside for a moment the new position could offer more travel, flexibility, training or travel opportunities. Some bosses might use those promises to make a counteroffer, and sometimes they will honour these promises.

Counteroffers do not tend to solve underlying issues. If your concerns are purely financial, well then a counter offer may do away with the need to move to an employer that sees your worth for what it is, rather than an employer being backed into a corner and throwing money at you to stay. If you are worth the extra money now, why were they not paying it to you already?

If you have worked with your current employer for some time, you may have a lot of “what-if” thoughts about changing roles. The good thing is hardly any of these dredded “what-ifs” ever really eventuate in reality. It is better to take the opportunity and explore the exciting new possibilities that come with a new role, and while no one can predict the future, at least you won’t be left wondering what may have happened if you had rejected the counteroffer and opened the door to new opportunities. Having said that, if your current employer is genuine in their desire to keep you, parting on good terms should enable the door to be left open for a potential return, in the unlikely event your new role does not work out as hoped.

In summary, we suggest focusing on the new job’s benefits, instead of your current employer’s promises, and always get the offer in writing before you accept. Read more here.

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