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Counter Offers on the rise in 2022

The words of The Clash ‘Should I stay or should I go now’ have never been truer than in 2022.

This year we have seen a significant rise in the number of counter-offers.

The dictionary definition of a counter-offer is ‘an offer made in response to another offer’. In recruitment, this is where an employer increases their offering to retain high performing employees. The offering can be monetary or since the pandemic can be a change in hours or location of work.

As an executive search company, counter-offers are part of the process.

With the market how it currently is, it’s a candidate’s world and all businesses are looking to attract highly skilled and qualified individuals, and so employers are doing everything in their right mind to keep hold of their best. This year we have seen companies offering ridiculously high increases in salary to retain their staff and on one occasion an employee was even offered a Tesla to stay!

Counter-offers are often tricky, and despite being told by candidates “I’m not going to be tempted by a counter-offer”, you can never be 100% certain.


Why do Companies make counter-offers?

The main reasons employers make counter-offers are to avoid:

  • Losing an employee’s knowledge of their services, processes and client base.
  • The cost of hiring and training a new employee.
  • Increasing the workload of the rest of the team.
  • Poor motivation and unrest in the team.


Is it a good idea to accept a counter-offer?

There are times when accepting a counter-offer will be the best decision for the employee. 

But there are a number of reasons why accepting a counter-offer is not the best decision and we see it time and time again and the main ones are:

1.      A breakdown in trust

An employee’s loyalty will be questioned following their resignation and an employer will be wary about how long the employee will stay with the company, having already expressed a desire to leave. This can impact on future progression opportunities.

2.      A Change in Culture

If the reason for an individual wish to leave centres around the culture of the company then any amount of money is not going to change that. The main reason for wanting to leave in the first place may not have been addressed.

3.      Empty Promises

Often employees are offered promotion as part of the counter-offer with the promise that their existing role will be filled by someone else. In the current market filling any vacancy takes time and individuals find themselves working twice as hard, taking on the responsibilities of their new role along whilst also carrying out the duties of their old role.

At the end of the day monetary figures and promises may not make everything better and my biggest advice is to always remember the reason you were contemplating a move in the first place.


Before Resigning Make sure the Job is right for you

I speak to candidates who have been unhappy in their current role and then when they’re offered their dream role they start to waiver and feel overwhelmed by the decision to move or stay.

And whilst it’s easy to evaluate the objective criteria such as salary, benefits, responsibilities, prestige and opportunities for career advancement it is more difficult to evaluate the softer criteria such as company culture, relationships with team members and job satisfaction.

Although these are harder to appraise but there are still ways of doing it.

I strongly recommend that you carry out the following during the interview process and not once you’re offered the job.

You need to do your research…

  • Look at what the business is doing and what it is intending to do.
  • Take time on their website and LinkedIn/Facebook pages to see how it presents itself publicly. 
  • You can learn a lot of these searches about the company’s focus and mission. If you come across anything that raises a red flag, make sure you address these concerns during any face to face meetings. 
  • If you’re not happy with the response you receive, there’s a good chance this isn’t the company for you.
  • Sometimes you must follow your gut instinct, it’s not worth making a mistake!


Resigning successfully

Resigning is daunting, and when you’re put on the spot, it’s easy to accept a counter-offer even when you don’t want to remain with the business.

Here’s our top tips for a successful resignation:

⭐ Explain that the opportunity is great and you are moving towards something that is too good to turn down

⭐ Do not discuss your reasons for leaving – keep it positive – you do not want to leave on bad terms

⭐ Avoid discussing money

⭐ Remember your motivators for leaving, and don’t get sucked into false promises (Why are they only offering you these ‘great’ things once you’re resigning!?) 

⭐ Do NOT insult the business, management or peers


What can employers do to stop the rise of counter-offers?

In the current market, retention is key. Employers need to be regularly speaking to their staff and listening to any concerns they have. Pay should be reviewed regularly and at least annually and it is essential to ensure that companies’ salaries are competitive. Salary surveys are a great way of benchmarking salaries.

During the interview process hiring managers should be aware of any red flags, for example, candidates being reluctant or difficult to commit to interview times and dates or not being fully prepared for their interview.

Throughout the interview process, it is important to establish why an interviewee wants to leave their existing company. Are they ‘movers away’ or ‘movers towards’. If they are a ‘mover away’ they need to be reminded of their desire to leave at every stage. A ‘mover towards’ will be harder to convince to leave and more likely to accept a counter-offer.

However, you can’t control every eventually and as a result we recommend that hiring managers always have a back-up candidate standing in the wings, who can be offered the role in the event of a counter-offer.



Counter-offers are on the rise in 2022 due to the shortage of talent in the market. Companies inevitably will work hard to retain their best staff but a candidate who has accepted an offer has probably already decided to leave will think think very carefully when considering their career options and being counter-offered by their current employer. Any decisions should not be taken lightly.