Confused about what to do after receiving a counter-offer?   

by Melissa Tang on 08 December 2021
Confused about what to do after receiving a counter-offer?   

Congratulations, you’ve received a job offer and now that you have handed in your resignation, the hard part is over, right? But then your current firm comes back with a counter-offer, designed to tempt you to stay. It’s a popular tactic among employers; up to 50% of candidates who resign will receive a counter-offer. But should you stay? Or should you go?  

According to the stats, up to 80% of those who accept counteroffers end up leaving their current firm within 6 months, and 90% within a year. But it’s not always an easy decision to make, and you have to weigh up what’s right for you, long-term - however persuasive the offer might be.

The potential pitfalls of staying with your current firm

There are several reasons that the best option might be to stick with the job offer for your new role.

  • Work culture - no amount of pay hike, compensations, and training opportunities is worth staying if the work environment is not right for you
  • Only offer is an increase in salary - on balance, your future career growth is at least as important, if not more so, than short term financial gain
  • Relationship with your manager - your intent to resign may create resentment and a lack of trust even if you choose to stay. Eventually, you could be passed over for promotions or training opportunities if your manager feels you aren’t fully committed to a long-term career at the firm
  • Avoiding the hassle of finding a replacement for you - if you feel that you’re being asked to stay just to cut down on hiring costs and not because your firm value and appreciate you, it might be best to head for the exit

How to handle a counter-offer

Whatever your reasons are for resigning, avoid accepting or rejecting a counter-offer straight away.

  • Speak to your manager and check out the terms of the offer
    Find out why your firm wants to keep you. Is it because you are valued or is it just to avoid turnover costs? You don’t need to decide right there and then - ask for a day or two to think it over. Take some time to consider their proposal so that you can be confident you’re making the right decision, whichever way you go.
  • Compare the offer with your new job offer
    Assess the strength of the counter-offer, and compare it with the offer from your prospective employer. Look at more than just the salary and benefits. Consider which firm will help you to develop your career in the long term. Where can you develop most? Which offers more opportunities for progression? Also consider which firm best aligns with your values; firm culture and vision is an important factor as it can affect how engaged, motivated, and happy you are in your workplace.
  • Speak to your G2 Legal Recruitment Consultant
    Let us know about your counter-offer as soon as possible – do not be afraid to tell us! We have been through this scenario plenty of times before and can give you our professional opinion on what else you need to consider. It’s in our interest to help you make the right decision, as our client will be looking for a solicitor who wants to stay long term and progress within their firm, not to leave after a few months and go back to their old firm.
  • Revisit your reasons for leaving
    Most counter-offers involve a pay rise, but money isn’t usually the number one reason someone leaves their job. Many solicitors look for employment elsewhere to have better work-life balance, to gain more experience and responsibility, or to be in a more dynamic work environment. Ask yourself why you looked for a new job in the first place and assess, think back to our initial conversation when we also asked you, “What are your reasons for looking for a new opportunity?” and whether the counter-offer will give you everything you need.
  • Listen to your inner voice
    You’re probably familiar with the advice to ‘go with your gut’ or ‘trust your intuition’. This applies when finding a new job, too. Although you should be methodical when assessing the pros and cons of the counter-offer versus the new job offer you’ve accepted, if there’s a nagging feeling that staying isn’t the right thing to do, listen to it. Whether it was down to the lack of inspirational leadership, opportunities that are few and far between, or subtle office politics, your inner voice was telling you to leave and look for another job, so if you ignore it, it could cost you in the future.
  • Make your Decision
    Whether it’s best to stay or to go depends on your unique situation - from your career goals to your financial needs. Ultimately, you are the one who knows what’s best for yourself and your career.

Your G2 Legal Recruitment Consultants are here to help you along your journey and provide consultative advice every step of the way. Please do not hesitate to contact us on 0131 278 000 or Scotland@g2legal.com

About the author

Melissa joined G2 Legal in 2018. She has several years recruitment experience and specialises in working with qualified Solicitors, from NQ to Partner, as well as experienced fee earners. Melissa focusses on permanent and contract opportunities.