At a first glance, you might see accepting a counter offer as a small transgression, singeing a few bridges in the short-term that won’t hinder the overall progress of your career. Plus, there’s a potential for a considerable increase in compensation. Easy choice, right?
On the surface, it might seem so, but tech professionals who take the counter offer put themselves at a considerable risk of getting burned in the long-term. Here are the three main consequences of accepting a counter offer – and what to do when you receive one.
The tech world is often rightly described as its own little bubble. Typically, when layoffs flood the market, IT positions remain above the high-water mark. Yet job security in the IT industry is not a guarantee. The effects of COVID-19 (and past bubble burstings) have disproven that illusion.
Along with major cutbacks in the airline industry and entertainment sector, the pandemic has caused 70,000 tech startup employees to lose their jobs since March, and even tech giants are not immune. In these situations, the burden of choosing who to terminate can be a difficult process, but there are a few employee types that make the decision easier. Those who accepted a counter offer are one of them.
Think about it. You’ve already indicated to your boss that you’re not aligned with the company’s goals or visions. You’re in it for the money. So, there’s little reason to remain sentimental about someone who might leave if a better offer presents itself. And if you recently bumped up your pay bracket, there is even more financial incentive to add you to the chopping block.
A salary hike loses its flavor fast. It’s not too long before you’re bored with your work and the extra money isn’t enough to keep you engaged. Soon, you’re renewing your job search, but the opportunities aren’t as good and there are more hurdles to jump. What gives?
The fallout from accepting a counter offer ripples spreads beyond your own career. The company that was intent on hiring you and any recruiting firm you may have been working with are now holding the bag, forced to restart their candidate search. More than just causing an inconvenience, an accepted counter offer results in wasted hiring expenses, a process that can normally reach $4,129 per position even before a candidate abandons an offer. Both will be hesitant to work with you again.
Plus, word travels fast when counter offers are accepted, and businesses might be less inclined to take a chance on you. Finding new work isn’t out of the question, but it’ll be harder than necessary for the near future.
There are incentives for businesses to promote from within. When motivated people with leadership qualities know the business and don’t need to acclimate to all of the unique inner-workings, the business can achieve results at a faster rate.
However, companies want to ensure newly minted leaders have a long shelf life. As a result, they are more likely to filter out people who have shown their time with the company might be fleeting. Candidates who have accepted counter offers often make this list.
Leaders are an investment for any organization. All of the time and money that goes into cultivating problem solvers and decision makers internally is difficult to track, but organizations often spend 20% of a manager’s or executive’s salary finding his or her replacement. So, they’ll be wary of promoting anyone who might pull a vanishing act in less than a few years.
More than 67% of hiring managers have tried to retain talent by extending counter offers, so odds are reasonable that you might receive one. When you are face-to-face, it can be difficult to say no, even when the new position is better aligned with your career goals. Those fortunate enough to work remotely have an easier time rejecting counter offers, but it still might be tempting. It’s better to prepare for an impending counter offer, that way you can reject it politely.
Ask for some time to consider the offer. Even when you know a new position is better for you, it’ll give you breathing room. Your boss is likely feeling pressure to retain you because of the cost and time it takes to find your replacement.
But don’t take too long considering. Let your employer know in a few days that the new position is better aligned with your career – and that you wish them the best. Leaving on a positive note and providing several weeks’ notice ensures that your reputation remains intact as you do what’s best for you.