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How to Handle a Counter-Offer

12 Jan 2016

Brightwater Recruitment

You have succeeded at interview, you’ve secured the job, signed the contract and written a gracious resignation letter but what do you do when your current employer counter-offers.......... Read on....

Leaving sounds so easy until your employer offers you what you want in terms of money, challenges or responsibility. Then you have a major dilemma. Here are our tips to consider if you’re in the enviable position of balancing a counter-offer against a new job offer.

Trust Issues

We would usually recommend that unless there are mitigating circumstances (like working from home, if flexibility was the problem), you do not accept a counter-offer.

Your reasons for leaving will still be the same and somewhere in the back of your employer’s mind will be the niggling feeling that you have been disloyal.

It means that if a wave of redundancies comes up, you may be first in line and that tempting offer elsewhere will have been taken off the table leaving you high and dry.


Think about why your employer is only offering you new responsibilities when they have been forced to do so. Why was your value not recognised and rewarded before now? This is something that you will have to consider very carefully and perhaps you would be better off with a company that values and rewards your contribution from the get-go!

All About the Money

If salary was the only reason for leaving, then a counter-offer is rarely the answer. Ask yourself where this money for the counter-offer is coming from. Will it affect your next pay review and appraisal? Should they not have been paying you that all along in recognition of your value?

We have found over the years that nearly 90% of counter-offers accepted have resulted in the person leaving 6 months down the road anyway.

Consider the implications of any counter offer seriously.

If you do decide to accept it, then understand that you cannot use a future external offer as a bargaining tool again. It may take an external job offer to jolt your employer into giving you what you need for your career, and realise your value to the company and you may be perfectly happy working there. But once you have considered everything carefully and are still keen to leave, then graciously reiterate that whilst you are grateful for your time spent there, it’s now time to move. Always make sure that you remain on as good terms as possible.

Click here to check out our Counter Offer Survey Results!

For further advice on your job search, talk to your Brightwater Consultant by contacting our office on: 

Dublin | +353 1 662 1000 | [email protected]
Cork | +353 21 422 1000 | [email protected]