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How to Handle a Counter-Offer
If it’s not about the money: A counter-offer may not just be about a pay rise, it could aim to address other key motivators like the level of responsibly or work/life balance. But unless salary was the sole purpose for looking at new opportunities, counter-offers are rarely the answer. In our experience, most people who accept them find themselves looking for a new job a few months later, when the situation that caused them to explore the market still hasn’t been resolved.
Once your employer knows that you’ve been interviewed elsewhere, you demonstrate that you have the potential to be disloyal to the company. You may no longer be seen as a team player, and could potentially be first out the door if there is an internal reorganization.
If you do accept a counter-offer that results in a substantial increase in salary, you may end up being overpaid compared to the market rate for your level of experience. This could make an external move in the future challenging, as your remuneration won’t accurately reflect your value in the market.
Working at an organization for a period of time means you’ve built up equity, whether it’s the relationships you’ve developed or your service record.
If you decide not to stick with your current employer, use it as an opportunity to thank them for the offer and reiterate that while you enjoyed your time with the organization, you remain firm in your decision to leave. There’s little point at this stage in burning bridges by listing everything you felt was wrong with the organization and your role. You never know when you’ll encounter your old manager again.
Most people make the most dramatic improvements to their career progression, immediate and long-term earning potential by making an external move, but that doesn’t mean that the most positive move for you is necessarily one outside your company. If the deal offered by your current employer changes, it deserves fair consideration at least.
The counter offer situation can be a tricky one to handle, so if you’re unsure speak to your Michael Page consultant for more advice on how to proceed.