Should I stay or should I go?

You’ve found a new job, had the interviews, accepted the offer and it’s now time to resign.

​You’ve found a new job, had the interviews, accepted the offer and it’s now time to resign. Telling your current employer you’re leaving can be a little daunting and it’s a situation that you may find difficult to prepare for. We have noticed that in today’s competitive job market many more counter offers are being made to convince top talent to stay put. These counter offers often consist of a marked increase in your current remuneration and promises to improve in the areas which led you to start your job search. So, should you stay or should you go?

First things first, why counter offer?

A counter offer is often flattering and makes you feel reassured that the business is keen to keep you but why has your employer decided to counter offer?

Situation 1

Your resignation is unexpected and your employer comes to realise your worth to the team and will go to great lengths to keep you. Many of the problems you’ve had that drove you to search elsewhere simply hadn’t been addressed, but following a conversation a solution can be reached that benefits all parties.

Situation 2

Your resignation is equally unexpected, but the business is unfortunately thinking more about ‘number one’. They make a counter offer which is appealing financially but the conversation about your current situation seems quite muted. In this instance the counter offer is less about you. Simply put, finding your replacement is both time consuming and expensive and it’s more efficient for them to make you a counter offer.

It takes time to find, interview and employ new hires and it often diverts valuable resources that could be applied to other matters. The cost implications are also quite significant, including the recruitment fee itself, offering an appealing package in line with market rate (which could have increased significantly since you started) and most importantly the cost of the reduced productivity caused by the loss of an employee.

Why do you think your employer has counter offered? We all hope that it’s situation 1 but more often than not, it’s actually situation 2.

How do I decide?

You may well be happy in your current role, but often other factors such as work-life balance, culture or working environment are also in play when you feel motivated to look for something new. Whilst a healthy uplift is always nice, it’s not all about the money!

When your employer makes a counter offer, think back to the start of your search; why did you feel the time was right to move? Was it a workflow issue, perhaps progression or lifestyle related? A lack of flexible working or simply down to remuneration? Which concerns were a priority, and which were less important? If the concerns you had have genuinely been addressed, then stay and embrace the change!

Equally, if you are looking for a monetary uplift and you achieve that, why make a move? There is a lot to be said for stability and lengthy spells of employment on your CV.

There are however concerns to consider with counter offers;

If the uplift in pay is not the only motivation or if it’s the only motivation that’s been addressed and you have not received any assurances that your other “push” factors will be taken into consideration, it’s likely that these problems will come up again in future. In the meantime, you may have let an interesting opportunity with better prospects pass you by.

A working relationship is a relationship like many others, and once you have expressed a desire to leave it may damage the goodwill you’ve developed over time. It’s often not the same as it was before and you may find that the working dynamic you used to enjoy has changed for the worse.

Expressing a desire to move on can leave you vulnerable and with less job security. You have shown your cards to your employer and they are aware they may lose you in the future as you are not 100% happy. As such, could they just be buying time until they find your replacement? The slightest whiff of economic downturn or internal cost cutting may also put you at the top of the redundancy list.

The cold hard facts

Losing staff is inconvenient for a business. A counter offer is a tool that employers use to retain you and although it’s nice to feel wanted, it might not be the grand gesture it seems.

According to the National Employment Association, up to 80% of people who accept counter offers end up leaving within the same year.

Pay increases do not fix existing issues and many of those who accept counter offers resume their job search within surprisingly short time frames.

Is the grass really greener?

Moving into a new team in a new business is both exciting and scary in equal measure. Positions are SOLD to prospective employees and some less consultative recruiters will often tell you what you want to hear to get the deal done. The changes you’re being promised may not be as radical as you’d think and doing your own due diligence is always key.

We would always recommend having a frank, honest conversation with your employer BEFORE commencing your search. Employers will always appreciate you voicing concerns and often won’t be aware of how you feel unless you tell them. Most businesses see the value in keeping their talented staff happy and options like flexible working, progression or rebalancing your workload can be easier to address than you might think.

If you do decide to look elsewhere, make sure you are actually prepared to leave! Resigning just with the intention of receiving a counter offer is a high-risk strategy that rarely works out the way you hoped. If you are made a counter offer, take some time to think about the reasons why they’ve made it. Is it about you or them? More situation 1 or 2?

If an increased pay package is really your only concern then it might be an easy decision to stay, but if the problems run deeper, have they been looked into thoroughly? Have you raised your concerns before? Have they offered you a feasible solution? If not, the grass may well be greener on the other side.

If you’re a candidate looking for an unbiased opinion on your current position and whether it’s time to make a move, please get in touch on 020 7 002 0178 or send an email to danielgriffin@hydrogengroup.com to arrange a time for an honest discussion on the market and whether I can help.

Posted over 6 years ago
About the author:
Daniel Griffin

Our blogs and insights help keep you up to date with market developments and regional news