Consider the consequences of the counter offer

Consider the consequences of the counter offer

Published on 26th November 2014

The market is currently very busy at all levels of seniority which is great news if you are looking for a new job!

However, for employers, this means there is a shortage of good candidates available to replace employees who decide to leave and as a result, firms are increasingly resorting to a counter offer as a means to retain their staff. 

Think about the bigger picture

As a job seeker, when you decide to look for a new role it is really important that you think about and consider at length your true reasons for moving on. Is it all about the salary? Lack of scope for progression? Do you feel you need a new challenge? As specialist recruiters, it is crucial for us to find out these motivations in order to be successful in helping you find a new role that will be the right fit for you. 

A counter offer is something that often takes candidates by surprise. I have met many jobseekers who have been in their existing role for a number of years and when they last changed jobs, the market was very different.  Counter offers were not common place a few years ago but they are becoming increasingly used today so it’s important to consider how you would react to a potential counter offer in advance so that you are well-prepared. 

Can you really trust a counter offer?

Remember, when you come to resign, your employer doesn’t have a lot of time to properly think through their offer to keep you and consequently what they promise is often a ‘knee jerk’ reaction which may be impossible to maintain in reality. 

Of course, as a candidate you are also under pressure to make a decision quickly. Most people think long and hard about leaving their current firm and it is unlikely to be a decision that would have happened overnight. Then suddenly, if you are not prepared for a counter offer, you find yourself faced with two career opportunities (the new firm and your current firm) with very little time to decide…. this is when wrong decisions can be made and can prove costly for your career. 

Questions to ask yourself before accepting a counter offer:

  • Why is your current firm only realising your value now? 
     
  • Are you ready to perform like a new hire, proving yourself all over again to justify your increased responsibilities or salary?  
     
  • Are you truly ready for the increased responsibilities? If so, why haven’t you been given this opportunity before? 
     
  • Where has this new role come from, does the role really exist? Has thought gone into this role? 
     
  • Are you just having your salary reviewed early? Will this now affect future salary reviews? 
     
  • Your employer knows that you were prepared to leave so that loyalty and trust has been broken. How will this be viewed internally for promotional opportunities in the future, they do feel differently about you now? 
     
  • Will you be wondering “what if”? Had you moved, how would that different path have worked out? 


Over the years, the statistics speak for themselves; as many as 70% of our candidates who accept a ‘counter offer’, re-approach us to start looking for a new job again within a year, proving that often, while a counter offer might seem like a great improvement in the short term, the reasons you originally had for moving on often still remain.

Having worked in the legal finance sector for 10 years, where most law firms insist on or at least have a strong preference for previous legal sector experience, this means that the job market for experienced legal finance professionals is relatively small.