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Reasons why the counter-offer is scary business

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In the spirit of Halloween, we thought we would have some fun with a challenging subject: The counter-offer. We’re not afraid to admit that looking for a new job or hiring for your team can be a terrifying task. You want to find the ideal company or the best people for your company before the competition snaps them up. More importantly, however, you want to avoid making bad decisions. Some of these hiring mistakes can be truly scary; hiring a goblin can cost your company a lot of money and set your business back. So when you’re current employee hands in their resignation, it’s tempting to seduce them to stay with a higher salary, and as the employee it’s alarmingly appealing to accept the extra money and stay put. Here we explore why the counter-offer is scary business, why you shouldn’t accept as an employee and why you shouldn’t offer as an employer.

Back to basics

Remember why you originally considered leaving, and pursued job interviews to be in a position where you have an offer on the table. Accepting a counter-offer from your current company rarely changes the factors that drove you to look for a new job in the first place.

Counter-offer is counterproductive

A counter-offer is typically a product of panic. As the employer you simply can’t imagine getting through projects without this specific employee and you don’t have the time or money to recruit their replacement. For the employee, the harsh reality is that it might be flattering but in some cases a counter-offer is nothing more than a short term fix and a way to buy more time before your employer has the resources to replace you.

Know your worth – delayed recognition

There’s nothing worse than being recognised for the work you’ve done once you’re already dead. What type of company do you work for if you have to reach the point of resigning before you are given what you’re worth? As the employer, why didn’t you value your employee before? Why are you offering a pay increase now? Solely because it’s easier and cheaper for you to keep your existing employee for the time being, is not an ethical answer.

Think long term not short term

It’s a common scary statistic in the recruitment industry that around 80% of candidates who accept the counter-offer, either leave their job within a year or are let go. And what about the new job offer you already accepted? By hiring you, that employer already has demonstrated a belief that you are valuable when you haven't even had your first day yet. Your current employer, on the other hand, has begrudgingly offered you more money to get you to stay to suit their business needs. You have come as far as attending interviews, negotiating, accepting an offer, and allowing your future employer to think their job has been filled, for you to only back track? And your current employer knows you have been looking elsewhere, you will definitely leave a bitter taste in the mouths of both parties.

Food for thought

If you’re a hard-working and valuable member of the team, chances are the boss won’t let you go without a fight, especially if you’re moving to a rival company. If you’ve been offered a pay rise equal to or above your new job offer, consider why it took the threat of leaving to bring it about in the first place. Why haven’t they offered this before you threatened to leave the haunted house? It sounds harsh, but contemplate if they’re only keeping you on until they find a replacement. You may find the counter-offer comes to an abrupt end when they find someone who will work for your old salary.


All in all we advise you to keep your distance from the old-fashioned spooky practice known as the counter-offer which can only too often drain all your resources and produce no long term tangible results. If you feel reluctant to keep your current employee with a counter-offer but battle with the lack of time you have to recruit their replacement, it’s worth working with a specialist recruiter to back fill their shoes and save you doing the hard work. As scala recruitment specialists, we have helped many businesses in this conundrum so please get in touch if we can be of service