Should I stay or should I go?

The topic of counter offers is an interesting one. I am sure you have seen articles and thoughts about the subject and they are usually one person’s perspective on the topic. For a somewhat different approach, we’ve reached out to people in our network to gain their thoughts and perspective on the topic.



We asked: You have just received an offer to join a new firm. You are giving notice to leave your current position and your employer makes a “counter offer” to keep you from leaving. You start to think about whether or not to take that “counter offer.”


I’m going to share my opinion from the employer’s side. My experience is that at best this is a short term affair when a counteroffer is made and accepted. Whenever I have made counteroffers, if accepted at all, the person may only be around another 6 months until they move on. Typically, the reasons for looking and leaving run much deeper than just money and if that is all that it was a much better way to handle it is to bring it to the company’s attention that you are, based on market research, underpaid.

Monty P. Hamilton,  CEO Rural Sourcing

If you make the decision to pursue an opportunity outside of your organization, you have made the decision to leave your organization.   If you are offered a job by a new company that you have prepared for, interviewed for and expressed interest in sincerely, you should take it and move on.    The key is to address the issues with your current company before you make the decision to pursue an opportunity outside.   If you feel you have earned a promotion or a raise, make your case to your employer and ask for what you want.   If you are not happy with your boss or colleagues, make an effort to improve the relationship.  If you want a new opportunity with your company, raise your hand and go for it.   If you do not get the answers you desire, then look for a new opportunity outside of the company.   If you get what you want after you tell your company that you are leaving, your company has communicated its true interest in supporting your career previously and you should move forward.  But beware, every company has its relative strengths and weaknesses – there will always be things you like and don’t like – they are just different.   If you expect to be happy elsewhere, by just changing your circumstances, you will be deeply disappointed.

Jonathan Donahue, Vice President Client Partner & Sales Executive, US Healthcare Insurance & Payments

Over a 30 year consulting career I have had three situations where changes in executive leadership direction have forced me into an external job search.  My takeaway is to pay closer attention to changes in executive leadership, and to take action looking for opportunities (internally and externally) more quickly than you would normally due to loyalty, job satisfaction, hope for better times, and inertia.

The first situation started when my manager’s manager accepted a role outside the company and brought my manager along.  New leadership flew in and changed the focus of our business (away from what I was doing).  I had inside knowledge 3 months in advance but said and did nothing (it was a confidential, F500 CEO move).

The second situation was when my manager and CEO (who hired me) left the company.  The 2nd line leadership team (four of us, plus functional leads) had a great 6 month run and exceeded all financial targets while the search for a new CEO progressed.  This period was the highlight of my career performance.  However, a new CEO was hired, business structures were changed, the leadership culture changed, and within 3 months I was asked to make room for my replacement.  I had maintained hope that things would ‘return to normal.’

The third situation started almost 18 months before when I was asked to participate in a possible spin-out of my business to another part of the corporation.  My manager’s manager rejected the change and we stayed in place.  A year before all hiring in our business was frozen, but the sales target was greatly increased which made the overall plan impossible.  Management reiterated an unwillingness to invest even a single resource in the business.  Four months before, an unrelated executive departure was filled, and the scope was increased to add a few businesses (including mine).  Even then I kept hoping that a healthy, profitable and synergistic consulting business would be safe.

Net-Net:  Pay closer attention to changes in management direction and act on signs earlier than you might normally.  I have waited too long to look internally and externally for opportunities, and to voice my concerns to my manager.  I suggest a more balanced approach.

Jeffrey Cohen, President, US Advanced Computing Infrastructure, Inc

More often than not, compensation is only one reason people decide to change employers, and often not the #1 reason.  So if everything else about the current situation is ideal, then the counter-offer may be worth considering.  If on the other hand the new opportunity is also a position upgrade, a dream opportunity with a desired employer, relocation to a favorite location, or other factors, then the counter offer is a non-event.

My advice when changing jobs is:  Be sure you are running TO something, not running FROM something.

Tom Mead, Senior Consultant at The Pedowitz Group

“Counter offers are a sensitive and polarizing topic, and there are consequences to them, even if they are received. While I was in a large CPG company’s Marketing department, a co-worker got a higher salary offer from another company, took that to her supervisor and management made a better offer to keep her so she stayed.  However, within the next year, the company went through some layoffs and she was let go:  Perhaps it was due to her now relatively-high compensation and/or because they knew she was disloyal or not happy (or she wouldn’t have been looking for a new job to begin with).

All circumstances are different, but one should weigh why you want to leave in the first place and be aware of the potential ramifications of asking for a counter offer.”

Steve Udell, Chief Marketing & Branding Officer / Marketing Consultant


We hope you find these perspectives interesting. If you would like to share your thoughts on this for future blogs, please let me know.


Larry Janis, Managing Partner I Integrated Search Solutions Group



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