How to weigh up a job counter offer

You may be ready to move on but chances are your employer will try to win you back. So before announcing your resignation think about how you’ll handle a job counter offer.

Employers never like to see good people leave. In boardrooms across Asia, business leaders share a common concern about losing their top talent. During our research for the Robert Half Salary Guide , for instance, we found that 100% of business leaders in Japan's financial services sector worry about staff moving on in the next year. Whilst in Shanghai, nine out of ten Chief Financial Officers report losing sleep over the worry of losing top talent.

As such, when you do announce your plans to move on, don’t be too surprised if you are on the receiving end of a swift job counter offer. Before you respond, however, here are 5 key areas you will need to think about before making a decision:

Don’t let flattery shape your next move

A counter offer is most certainly flattering. However, whilst your employer may try to entice you to stay with promises of an increased salary, promotion, flexible working hours or other benefits, is this enough to overpower your initial reasons for leaving?

All these options may sound very attractive (indeed they are meant to be!), but at this point some tough decisions need to be made. For there can be downsides if you choose to accept the bosses’ enticements.

Too little too late?

Scratch the surface of any job counter offer and you may see it is often a case of too little too late. The underlying factors that saw you look for a new role may not take too long to resurface.

Especially given research from recruitment experts Robert Half whom note that people who accept a counter offer generally don’t remain in their new role for very long. So first consider if the counter offer really addresses the core issues that prompted you to leave, or is it simply a quick fix before a better option comes along?

Is a counter offer just a long overdue pay rise?

A counter offer may increase your salary, however, pay is rarely the sole motivator for people to switch jobs. More to the point, if it has taken the threat of resignation to boost your salary, what sort of drastic action may be required further down the track to secure future pay rises?

Your loyalty may be questioned

As soon as your resignation has been tabled, your employer may begin to regard you differently. Your loyalty to the company will come into question and you are likely to be viewed as a future flight risk. This could impact upon the nature of projects you are asked to work on.

In the worst case scenario, a counter offer can just be a stalling technique that buys your employer time to find your replacement.

Make a clear decision

No matter whether you choose to dismiss a counter offer on the spot or give it some more thought, don’t let it distract you from the key reasons for seeking a new role.

Recruitment experts at Robert Half Japan suggest that accepting a job counter offer typically proves to be counter-productive to your career path. This makes it critical to base a decision on your long term aspirations, and then stick with it. At the end of the day, dwelling on ‘what ifs’ is unnecessary, regardless of which path you decide to take.