Navigating Counter-Offers

Published on June 10, 2021
Written by Colm Reddy

It is a job seeker’s market right now and organisations are incentivising in order to secure the best talent. Companies which offer flexible working arrangements, be that, flexible hours and/or remote working, are already ahead of the curve.

If you go to your employer to let them know you plan to leave the organisation, and they try to convince you to stay, that is a counter-offer.

What are the pros and cons of accepting a counter-offer?


The benefit of a counter-offer is that you potentially get more of what you want from a role without the risk of moving.


  • You get promised what you want but it does not actually happen. Often employers will genuinely mean it when they say they will give you what you want but due to decisions outside of their control or fear of upsetting others, they cannot or do not act on in the way they promised.
  • Sometimes people decide to stay because they are offered a pay rise even though salary was not the reason they were looking to leave. After a few months, many realise that the same issues exist and look to leave anyway. By that point, you have missed out on an external opportunity you might have loved.
  • You have now informed your employer that you were considering leaving your role, which means they may see you as a ‘flight-risk’ from then on which could impact future promotions.

There is no right or wrong when deciding on what you want in your career. When choosing between a new firm and a counter-offer, either may be right for you, but it does help if you can do your research on both options and make an educated decision, especially for something as important as your career.

When considering a career move, there are some obvious questions to ask yourself:

1. What do I like about my current job/company/colleagues/commute/development/flexibility/salary etc?

2. What would I improve about my situation?

3. Do I have flexible work options that suit me?

4. Is it possible to improve these things at my current company?

5. Is it possible for me to get more of what I want at a different company?

6. If I can get what I want in more than one external company, what is going to influence me towards one opportunity over another?

Some of the elements to consider that will help you answer these questions are:

  • Office culture
  • Work flexibility
  • Salary
  • Location and commute
  • Company size
  • Team structure
  • Client exposure
  • Training and development
  • Progression pathways
  • Your preferred personalities and management styles of the people you would be working closely with

You may not be able to answer the above six questions when you start your consideration process but educating yourself and seeking honest, sound advice from someone such as a recruitment consultant or mentor will help.

Discussing your requirements with your current employer

If you ideally want to stay at your current organisation, once you have decided what you’re seeking from a counter-offer, you are in a position to confidently speak with your Manager to discuss gaining exposure to these additional things.

This should not be presented as an ultimatum. Using your offer from another company or information from a recruiter as a threat to your employer can affect the outcome negatively. Instead it should be an exploratory chat about how realistic it is for you to get what you want going forward, measure how far away you are from it and devise a plan on how to get there.

Being assured you can get what you want at some point in the future without any clarity, detail and timeframes, can be a sign of empty promises. This is unfortunately common. If your gut tells you there is a risk that your current company will not give you what you want in the timeframe you want it, and your other option is better, your recruiter will be able to help you with resigning from your current company and making the move.

Finding a new role

Ideally, a recruiter will thoroughly know your market and the relevant decision-makers at the organisations you want to explore. Their trusted relationships with the appropriate people are valuable, as well as the advice they give to you along the way.

It is worth noting, speaking with more than one recruiter is not necessarily a way of increasing your chances. Just like in any profession, some recruiters are better than others. If you find a recruiter you trust, who listens to you and knows your market, you don’t need a second. If you don’t have complete trust in this partnership, keep looking until you truly find a recruiter who can propel your career.

If you have met someone you do not trust and do not want to continue engaging with them, you can always email a recruiter directly to state that you no longer give them your permission to represent you to any company. Remember though, they do not work for you and they can just as easily not want to work with you, so be respectful and honest with them too. It could benefit your career.

If you want to discuss this or anything else further, please contact me at any time. I see this as a vital part of my job as a true recruitment consultant. If you are not getting this information that will help your career, find a recruiter you trust and ask them.

Please follow Lawson Delaney to make sure you don’t miss future articles that may help you. Contact us on 03 9946 7300 or

Published on June 10, 2021
Written by Colm Reddy

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