Counter Offers: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Team JBC

Mar 24, 2022

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Picture this: you have been stuck in a job that isn’t quite right for you. Growth is stagnant, your working relationship with your coworkers is not ideal, or it’s been a while since you’ve had a pay raise (if ever). Instead of spending your weekend binge-watching TV in an attempt to drown out the Sunday scaries, you decide to take action. You use the day to apply to the roles on you’ve had your eye on but never got around submitting your resume to. And guess what – a recruiter from JBC sees your application, meets with you, and sends you to interview with a company that checks most of your boxes. And since you are so amazing and qualified, of course you get that job offer! 

Seems pretty straightforward from here, right? You assume that when you tell your old company that you’re leaving, they’ll accept it and let you ride out your last two weeks. But that’s not what happens – they come back with a counter offer.

What is a Counter Offer?

A counter offer is made by a current employer to entice you to stay by proposing a better salary or overall employment package. In the eyes of the employer, especially in the current market which is still in the midst of the Great Resignation, it’s so much easier to hold on to current employees than to replace them. 

According to recent studies, over 50% of employees go on from here to accept the counter offer. In the moment, it may seem like the easiest and safest option – after all, you’re already familiar with your job and company. Maybe you’ll like the job more if you get paid more. 

Unfortunately, however, accepting a counter offer does not magically fix the underlying issues that likely made you want to search for a new job in the first place. In fact, it is reported that 80% of employees that accept a counter offer will no longer work at their company after six months. We’re here to share with you why in most cases, we do not recommend that a job seeker accept a counter offer from their current employer.

Why Should You Decline a Counter Offer?

There is likely an underlying issue that won’t be solved with money

Studies show that only 12% of employees resign exclusively as a result of money, so chances are good that your original decision to seek other employment isn’t based solely on your salary. Maybe you don’t see eye to eye with your manager or you no longer feel passionate or excited about the job. Perhaps your growth path is nonexistent or the company culture is not satisfactory. Is money going to be enough to keep you there if those things don’t change? The offer may seem like a good option to keep you going, but in most cases it’s like putting a band-aid on a broken leg.  

When considering accepting a counteroffer, you should make sure that the position with its new salary meets your long-term goals. There is no point in investing time and energy into something you do not want to be doing long term when you have an opportunity in front of you that will help you take that next step in your career. 

Your loyalty will be put into question

You’ve now indicated to your boss, team, and coworkers that you’re no longer happy working with them, and may try to leave again at any moment. In their eyes, your loyalty will now be questioned when it comes to future projects, raises, and promotions. If it proves difficult to rebuild those relationships, this could lead to further feelings of isolation.

Additionally, if your employer or the economy experiences hard times, you may be the first up on the chopping block. Employers are more likely to hang on to employees that they perceive to be loyal to the company rather than ones who they know were fine leaving in the first place.

How Do I Decline a Counter Offer?

In declining a counter offer, you want to ensure that you avoid burning any bridges. Who knows who you’ll encounter later on down the road in your career? However, it is important that you professionally let the key players at your former company know that your decision is final.

If you are able to decline over the phone or in-person, make sure to stay calm and professional. State your rejection clearly and express your reasoning for not accepting in a short and honest manner. You should show gratitude for your experience at the company, and willingness to keep in touch if you don’t want to close the door forever.

If you are sending a rejection of a counter offer via email or letter, here is a template that hits all of those same marks in written form:

Dear X,

Thank you for your offer, but after much consideration, I will not be able to accept it. My time here at X COMPANY has given me many positive experiences that I will carry with me throughout my career. It was a difficult decision to make, but at this time, I need to pursue a position that can give me more responsibility and professional career growth. This letter will serve as notice that my last day will be X DATE. I wish everyone here a successful future and hope to encounter you all again in my career.

Respectfully yours,


Knowing when to stay and when to go can be challenging. Although counter offers are flattering they usually don’t get to the root of the problem, and may in fact make those issues worse when your loyalty comes into question. If you’re having any doubts about leaving your current company at any time during your screening and interviewing process, we invite you to speak openly and honestly with your JBC recruiter! We know all of the ins and outs of the job offer process, and can help you make the decision that best serves your future career, whatever that may be.