Compelling Reasons to Decline a Counteroffer from Your Current Employer

Did you know that rejecting a counteroffer is usually the best decision to maintain your long-term career goals? Doherty Staffing Solutions has extensive experience in the light industrial staffing industry, and we offer insights into common scenarios that job seekers may experience, including how to handle a counteroffer.

In this article, learn what a counteroffer is, why it may be a bad idea to accept, ten questions to ask yourself while considering a counteroffer, and how to politely decline a counteroffer.

What is a counteroffer?

A counteroffer is a response from your current workplace when you receive a job offer from another company. It is an attempt to persuade you to stay by offering you improved terms, such as a higher salary, better benefits, or a promotion.

When you receive a counteroffer, it means that your current employer doesn’t want to lose you and is willing to make changes to keep you in the company. While initially a positive proposal, accepting a counteroffer can have negative consequences.

Why might it be bad to accept a counteroffer from your current employer?

Accepting a counteroffer can lead to a breakdown of trust between you and your employer. They may question your loyalty and commitment to the company, especially if they find out that you were actively seeking other job opportunities.

This breakdown of trust between you and your employer can lead to a variety of issues, including:

  1. The Risk of Future Resentment

When you accept a counteroffer, there is a risk of future resentment from both your employer and your colleagues. Your employer may feel that you used another job offer as leverage to get a better salary or compensation package, which can damage the trust and relationship between you.

Moreover, your colleagues may feel overlooked or undervalued if you were given a counteroffer to stay in your current role. This can lead to strained relationships, a toxic work environment, and a hindrance to your ability to collaborate effectively.

  1. Rift in Employer Relationships

When your employer discovers you are seeking employment elsewhere, they may question your loyalty and commitment to the company, as well as your motivations for leaving.

Furthermore, your employer may be skeptical about your future job satisfaction and engagement. They may believe that you accepted the counteroffer out of fear or convenience rather than genuine interest in staying with the company.

This lack of trust can negatively impact your working relationship with your employer and may limit your opportunities for growth and advancement within your current company.

  1. Potential for Future Layoffs

Accepting a counteroffer does not guarantee job security in the long run. While your employer may promise to keep you on board, external factors such as financial difficulties, company restructuring, or changes in market conditions can still lead to future layoffs.

By accepting a counteroffer, you may be putting yourself at risk of being among the first to be let go if the company needs to downsize or restructure its workforce. It’s important to consider the stability and future prospects of the company before making a decision.

  1. Plateau in Career Growth

Staying in your current job by accepting a counteroffer can potentially lead to a plateau in your career growth. While the immediate benefits, such as a higher salary or better benefits, may be appealing, it’s important to think about the long-term impact on your career trajectory.

By staying in the same position, you may miss out on opportunities for advancement, learning new skills, and gaining diverse experiences. This can limit your potential for career growth and make it harder for you to achieve your long-term career goals.

  1. Missed Opportunity for Better Fit

Accepting a counteroffer means missing out on the opportunity to explore a potentially better fit for your skills, interests, and career aspirations. By accepting the counteroffer, you may be settling for familiarity and comfort rather than taking a chance on new challenges and growth.

Exploring new job opportunities can open doors to different industries, cultures, and work environments that may align better with your values and goals. It’s important to consider the potential for fulfillment that a new opportunity may bring.

10 Questions to Ask Before Accepting a Counteroffer

Now that we have covered five reasons to consider declining a counteroffer, here are ten questions to ask yourself before accepting a counteroffer.

  1. What kind of company will only give in to your demands if you threaten to resign?
    Did they not value you before the ultimatum?
  2. Where will the counteroffer money come from? Is it an early edition of your next raise?
    You may also want to know which budget will cover the unexpected costs.
  3. Have you unknowingly become a temporary worker?
    They may keep you on the team just long enough to find your replacement – for less money.
  4. Will you be perceived differently from now on?
    Your employer knows you’re unhappy – is your loyalty now permanently in question? According to research by the Harvard Business Review, “nearly 80% of senior executives and 60% of HR leaders cited diminished trust and compromised reputation among the executives and board members of the employee’s current company.“
  5. Is there a target sign on your back?
    Are you aware of other counteroffers at your company? If so, have those workers been treated differently regarding promotions or other status?
  6. Is this a short-term or long-term solution?
    Workers who accept counteroffers typically leave their jobs 50-80% of the time within 6 months. Do you have a backup plan?
  7. Has your work problem been solved?
    Unless you’ve negotiated a complete overhaul of the factors that caused you to seek a new position, the same reasons for leaving will more than likely reappear.
  8. Can you live with your decision?
    A big salary bump can turn sour when you realize that you were paid too little for too long. Any residual negative feelings can impact your ongoing relationship with the company.
  9. Will your relationship with your coworkers be affected?
    Your peers may respond to your threatened resignation in one of three ways. They will either be happy for you for “bucking the system,” resent you for your decision to try to leave or be inspired to leave as well. Any of these options result in negative outcomes for your team dynamic and the company.
  10. Are you staying for the wrong reasons?
    A better salary, a promotion, and a nicer office are great – but they don’t solve the underlying problems. Were you looking forward to escaping a negative culture, bad management, excessive stress, or even just a terrible commute? If you accept the counteroffer and stay, make sure it is because it’s the right place for you, your well-being, and your career objectives. If it is not, say goodbye – politely and confidently – and move on.

How to Decline a Counteroffer

If you have decided to reject a counteroffer, you may be wondering what the steps are to do so professionally. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Express gratitude: Thank your employer for the counteroffer and their consideration of your value to the company.
  2. Be honest and firm: Clearly communicate your decision to decline the counteroffer and explain your reasons for pursuing the new opportunity.
  3. Maintain professionalism: Avoid burning bridges and maintain a positive relationship with your employer, as you may cross paths again in the future.
  4. Offer a smooth transition: Offer your assistance in transitioning your responsibilities and ensure a seamless handover to your successor.

Remember, declining a counteroffer can be a difficult decision, but it’s important to prioritize your long-term career goals and personal growth.

If you’re seeking a new position, consider connecting with the employment experts at Doherty Staffing Solutions. With over 40 years of experience, our staffing specialists can help to match your skills and career goals with the perfect position. Visit to get started.