Three Reasons NEVER to Accept a Counter Offer

By: Ben White


If you like your job and you like your boss, giving notice can be an extremely difficult conversation.  You might find yourself dreading having the conversation and even experiencing a little anxiety.

I have given my notice several times, and in my experience it is always a hard conversation to have.  In fact, the first time I gave notice I was nervous the entire week leading up to it. You combine that with the fear of change and comfort of familiarity, and sometimes people end up accepting a counter offer.

The scenario goes like this…you go to your boss and tell them you are leaving.  They hear your reasons and say “Why didn’t you tell me you felt this way?  Tell you what, let me see if I can match the salary the new company is offering you. Will you stay then?”

As a recruiter I have been witness to this situation plenty of times. And frankly I get it.  If everything is great at your company but that “one thing”, and then your current employer fixes that “one thing”, isn’t that best case scenario?

The answer is a resounding NO!



This reason is the interpersonal reason why you never accept a counter offer. Let’s walk through this logically. You tell your boss you are leaving. The fact of the matter is that even though some days it might not feel like it, what you do for your company is extremely valuable. They pay you a salary because there is some task the organization can’t do without.

When you leave, you leave a void in productivity. Something important doesn’t get done or they need to shift resources so that the task is completed. Whatever the case, you have made life more difficult for people when you leave.

So as a boss, you think to yourself, “I can’t let this person leave…maybe if I give them more money, they will change their mind.” Make no mistake, this is a short term fix. You are a leaky pipe and that extra “whatever” it is they are going to give you is only duct tape.

Imagine yourself as a manager and someone vital to the success of your organization is leaving. If you’re  able to throw $15,000 their way in order to keep them from leaving and putting you in a bind, you do it.

Now that you have offered more money, and that person is doing the exact same work for you but at a higher salary—what happens six months down the road when you have to make a cut? Imagine you have four people to choose from who all do the same job. They are all equally skilled and there aren’t any major differences between all the people—except that one of those people makes more than the other three and six months ago was ready to leave.

Now not every manager may think this way all the time, but you are kidding yourself to think that this scenario will never be factor.  You put yourself at greater risk down the road accepting a counter offer today.


As a recruiter, when a candidate calls me and tells me that they think they are going to take a counter offer my advice to them is simple, Google it. They know I have a horse in the race and want them to take my role, so I tell them look it up themselves—often that’s enough.

The data is overwhelming. According to US News, 70-80% of workers who accept a counter end up not working for their current company within the year. Think about that, if five people accept a counter offer, 4 of them will not be at that company by the end of the year. Do you like those odds? I wouldn’t.

The nice thing about statistics is it takes the emotion out of the decision. Look at the facts and then ask yourself if this decision is the best for you and your family in the long-run?

Meaningful Change

The last reason you need to consider is just because your company changes one thing, doesn’t mean that everything wrong with the situation has been remedied. Typically, when you have made the decision to move on from your current employer, it’s for a multitude of reasons. It’s usually the culmination of many disheartening events over the course of your time that prompts you to make a move.

When your company gives you more money hoping that will sway you to stay, they most likely have not fixed the host of other things that weighed into your decision to leave.  They only fixed one factor of many. So even though you may be happy about the pay increase, the other reasons you are leaving won’t go away, leaving you just as frustrated as before.

For these three reasons, my advice is to never take a counter offer. When you walk into your boss’s office, make up your mind that regardless of what they say, you are going to stick with your decision to leave. Know that there is no turning back and be confident in that fact you have charted a new course.

Thanks for reading! I hope this was helpful. If you have any counter offer stories, please share them! We love hearing them!

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