You’ve been feeling stagnant in your current job. It’s been a few years, and you’re starting to feel like you’ve become part of the furniture in the office. You hear about how hot the market is and start applying for new jobs, offering a higher salary and new learning opportunities. After doing a few interviews, you receive multiple offers that tick all your boxes!
 
You tell your manager that you’re resigning, and to make things more complicated, he comes back with a counteroffer. He says, “We have big, big plans for you, and want to promote you in the coming weeks!”. This comes as a complete shock to you, as this is the first time that you’re hearing about a promotion.
 
Even though receiving multiple offers or a counteroffer from your current employer can be an ideal position to be in, deciding whether you should consider accepting a counteroffer is a dilemma commonly faced by many candidates in the rapidly growing tech industry.
 
If you’re thinking about accepting a counteroffer, it’s important to take into account a variety of factors before making your final decision. Here are a few things to keep in mind about counteroffers:  
 
1. It’s a short-term fix for a long-term problem
 
There could be several reasons why you may want to leave your job. Where a counteroffer is involved, keep in mind that usually the only thing that changes is the salary. Initially, this may seem very appealing to candidates. However, this may be an issue 3-6 months down the line, as you are likely to find yourself in the same situation again, especially if your initial motivation to leave was not just about the salary.
 
If there are other underlying reasons why you’ve decided to start looking around for a new job (eg. career growth, challenging work or a better company culture), the best thing you can do for yourself is to say no to the counteroffer.
 
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When considering a counteroffer, you should consider whether your long-term goals align with your current role. Why invest time and energy into a job that you don’t believe will help further progress your career? If you accept a counteroffer, you could be denying yourself the chance to engage with a new and exciting opportunity that could push your boundaries and help you reach your long-term goals.

 

2. You’re not appreciated as an employee
 
Why is your manager only offering you a raise now that you’re resigning? The reality is - it’s most likely not because you’ve suddenly become a more valuable employee, and much more likely that your manager does not want to deal with the costs and work disruptions associated with your departure.

We are current in a candidate driven market, which means that there are plenty of open positions, and not a lot of quality candidates to fill the roles. As a result, when an employee resigns, employers have to go through the pain staking process of posting new job ads, interviewing candidates, onboarding and training up a new employee, and potentially even having to pay someone else more money than they paid you to do the same job.
 

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Counteroffers are proof that your employer can offer more money, but if it takes you wanting to leave for the company to offer you what you deserve, you might want to consider their true motivations for keeping you around.
3. There’s no room for growth & career progression  

Are you still in the same role, doing the same thing every day, and not being challenged? It’s very easy to accept a counteroffer without too much thought because of how appealing it may appear. However, a significant factor when thinking about counteroffers is whether there is any more room for growth and career progression. When you decide to stay with your current employer, it may impact your ability to learn new skills. It is common for tech professionals to ultimately decide to pursue new opportunities in order to gain exposure to newer technologies and learn new languages and frameworks.

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Tenure amongst candidates in the tech industry, on average, tend to be shorter given the ever-changing market. It’s important to consider how an extremely long tenure may look to potential clients. Questions may be raised as to whether you’re adaptable to change, wanting to challenge yourself or be exposed to the latest technologies. Ask yourself, what will benefit you most in 2-3 years’ time? What will look better on your CV?

4. You run the risk of tarnishing your professional reputation
 
Irrespective of how good your relationship with your manager and team is, if they know that you have one foot out the door, consider the possibility that your loyalty might be questioned as an employee. Your manager will always be questioning how long you intend to stay since you planned to leave. You may be suspected of using the other offers to coerce a higher salary for yourself.

You also run the risk of altering your reputation within the tech industry. When you back out of an offer, or turn down an opportunity at the last minute, it’s potentially a bad look. Be cautious in these situations, just in case you find yourself back on the market, as it is unlikely that the companies that took the time to offer you a position will make you another offer in the near future.

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Even if you believe the counteroffer is a good option, you are more likely to see career development at a new job. While it may feel easier to stick with the option that’s more comfortable to you, it’s very important to remind yourself of why you decided to explore new opportunities in the first place. Do you want to be comfortable, or do you want to challenge yourself?

5.  It will not guarantee job satisfaction 

It is common for people to look for new jobs when they are unhappy with their current role. Receiving a counteroffer may give hope of better salary and opportunities, however it has been statistically proven that this is not the case.

Statistics show that 90% of people who accept counteroffers leave their current employer within 6 months, so now the important question is, why did you start exploring the job market in the first place? Whatever the case may be, you had a motivation to leave.
6. It may be a long time before you get another raise 

If the main reason you’re looking to leave is because you feel like you’re being underpaid and the only way to get a compelling pay rise is to resign, the odds of you getting a raise or another promotion in the future are fairly slim, as your manager may claim that you have already received it in the form of a counteroffer. 

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7. What if they offer me a promotion / new title?
 
In situations where you’ve been offered a promotion or a new title, make sure that you’re not walking into a worse situation, or being thrown into the deep end. It is important to consider whether your current company has the infrastructure and support to promote you.
In most cases, new challenges and new learning opportunities are likely to be more abundant in a new role, with a new company. Will you reach the ceiling with this company that could be higher elsewhere?
 
To sum it all up…

A counteroffer may seem compelling at first, however there are many factors to consider before accepting it. Keep in mind that usually, the only thing that changes when you receive a counteroffer is the salary. If there are various reasons as to why you’re looking to leave your current position, a counteroffer will only be a temporary fix, and you may find yourself in the same situation again in 3-6 months’ time, only this time, you might find it harder to leave.

Receiving a counteroffer does not mean that you are suddenly a more valuable employee, nor will it guarantee you more job satisfaction. Although this is not always the case, should you decide to accept a counteroffer, you run the very real risk of tarnishing your professional reputation or closing future doors.

There’s a reason why you considered exploring new opportunities in the first place, so before you decide to slip back into the comfort of your current role, make sure to think extremely carefully about what’s truly the right decision for you.
 
 
 
 

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