Just received a counteroffer? What should you do?

Got a counteroffer after telling your boss you’re resigning? It’s a big deal for your career, so take some time to figure out what to do.


So, what exactly is a counteroffer?

It’s when your current boss tries to one-up the offer you got from another job. They essentially want you to stick around and reject the other offer you have. Counteroffers can come in all flavours – more money, better perks, a promotion, a new title, extra duties, or a whole mix of these. I’ve seen some wild counteroffers in my time as an actuarial recruiter – we’re talking salary increases that blow the other offer out of the water by more than 50%, essentially doubling the candidates originally salary!


Should I accept a counteroffer? Are there any repercussions of accepting a counteroffer?

Generally, my advice is no as there are many consequences and repercussions of accepting a counteroffer. People ditch their jobs for all sorts of reasons – boredom, wanting a step up the career ladder, or just wanting to feel valued. If you took the time to think it over, you probably figured out you weren’t exactly thrilled with your current role, and that’s why you decided to pack up.

So why would a pay boost, a fancy new title, or other extra perks be anything more than a last-ditch effort to make you stay?

I’ve seen plenty of actuaries stuck in the same job for a decade or more, or in the same role for five years that are very underpaid and only getting a pay rise when are getting a counteroffer when they finally resign. Why didn’t they offer this pay rise before? Even if you decide to stick around, it might be a constant struggle – do you have to keep threatening to quit or asking for raises to get the recognition you deserve?

Remember, you were itching for a change, and your actions show it was more than just a passing mood – you actively looked for a new job, did the interviews, and were ready to accept an offer. That’s not what contentment looks like. Your decision to bail wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment thing; it was a long time coming.

Furthermore, accepting a counteroffer can have consequences. If you’ve already signed a contract with a new company and committed to starting with them, choosing a counteroffer can lead to repercussions. In a closely-knit field like actuarial, where professional networks are tight-knit and everyone knows each other, it’s crucial to avoid burning bridges without thoughtful consideration.


When to accept a counteroffer

Having said that, if the counteroffer deals with the reasons you initially wanted to leave and your employer is genuinely committed to making positive changes (although sometimes they might just talk the talk without walking the walk), it might be worth thinking about. Before you decide, ask yourself if sticking around will still pose challenges for your career growth and skill-building, or if the counteroffer could genuinely open new opportunities for you. If it’s the latter – staying might be on the table.


Don’t be pressured into taking a counteroffer

 Resigning can feel like a big deal, especially if it’s your first time. Of course, your boss won’t be thrilled about you leaving, but I’ve seen companies pull all sorts of tricks to get people to stay – from saying they’ll never find another job in the industry to bad-mouthing the new company. It’s all a bit of pressure to keep you from leaving. If you’re unsure about the truth behind what your employer is saying, it’s a good idea to chat with a trusted mentor in the industry for guidance.


Think about your future

When you get a counteroffer, take some time to think it over. More money and better perks sound good but check if it’s just a quick fix. If it genuinely resolves why you wanted a change, then consider taking the counteroffer, but watch out for short-term solutions.

Deciding to stay or go? It’s all about your values and where you want your career to head. A counteroffer might patch things up for a bit, but make sure it matches your real deal. Put your well-being first and pick a path that lines up with what you really want.

Remember its natural you’ll feel anxious and emotional and your employer’s actions to try to make you stay may heighten that as you will feel a sense of loyalty and belonging to your current company. But try to remember at the end of the day it’s a career decision and you need to focus on what’s going to be best for you. Focus on employing breathing or relaxation techniques when having these difficult conversations with your employer to help you stay grounded and focus on what the outcome is you want. Write out your thoughts and the pros and cons of staying vs going along the lines of job satisfaction, career growth, salary, any other considerations and make sure you keep bringing yourself back to that to ensure you make the best objective decision you can in this emotional environment that will be the best move for your career in the long term.


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