Counter-Offers In Tech: How To Handle Them

Your Opinion
Published: 21.07.22

So, you’ve managed to secure a new job. You’ve found a role that suits your requirements, polished off your CV, sailed through the interview process… and, finally, you’ve landed the offer. Only thing is, now that you’ve handed your notice in, your employer has come back to you with a counter-offer.

What do you do? You understand why they’ve done it, keep a cool head, and assess which decision is right for you…

Why do employers make counter-offers?

While a counter-offer is bound to feel flattering, it’s important to point out that a large percentage of employees will be met with one when they hand their resignation letter in. The reason for this is simple: retaining staff saves money, not to mention another valuable commodity – time. 

It’s no secret that the tech employment market is especially competitive right now, with mass skills shortages leading to companies fighting to find the best talent. As a result, business owners are keener than ever to hold on to their current team. 

When should you accept a counter-offer?

Having spent over half a decade working in tech recruitment, it’s safe to say I know the sector inside out. And I’ve experienced more than my fair share of candidates getting a counter-offer.

That means I can confidently say that the only time you should ever accept a counter-offer is if your reason for leaving is for salary purposes and salary purposes only. However, in this case, my advice would always be for you to try and negotiate a higher pay with your employer before applying for other jobs. That way, you’re not wasting anyone’s time – or your own, for that matter.

If the reason you’re looking further afield is due to office culture, bear in mind that the environment at your current place of work is unlikely to change overnight. Or if you’re keen to progress and your new role is a step up the career ladder, it’s worth considering that by accepting the counter-offer and remaining where you are, you run the risk of being overlooked for opportunities in the future. If your employer gets the sense that you aren’t fully committed to your role, they’ll be less likely to invest in your professional development.

What should your next steps be?

No matter your reasons for leaving, it’s important that you don’t rush to accept or reject a counter-offer. Before making a decision, clarify the offer with your manager first – ask what their reasons are for wanting you to stay, and what they’re willing to do to keep you. More importantly – ask your manager what has changed in the business since you began finding other work. If nothing  has changed, why has an improved offer only been tabled now? 

Then speak to your recruiter. They have your best interests at heart, after all – placing candidates in the wrong roles only proves counterproductive as it means more work further down the line (plus a loss of respect from both clients and candidates!). Your recruiter can channel their knowledge of the tech sector, along with their experience dealing with counter-offers, to help you make an informed decision. 

Always remind yourself of your reasons for leaving too. If you’re experiencing frustration with your boss, fellow employees, company processes, or similar, these are all issues that are unlikely to be resolved in the short term. In addition, though you may have resigned on good terms, consider that damage may have been done to your relationship with your employer and that your loyalty could be questioned. 

The trick is to always expect the counter-offer, and speak to someone that’s got your back. So, if you’ve already received one and you’re not sure what steps to take, or you have any other questions related to your job search, please feel free to send me a message. I’d be more than happy to help.

Hamish Niven Selfie

Senior Consultant

Hamish Niven


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