Counter-offers: a trick or a treat?

26th October 2021

Blog post

A counter-offer can catch any SAP or tech professional off guard. Read our best advice on what to expect and how to break the curse.

Did you know that 80% of candidates who accept a counter offer end up leaving their employer within 6 months either by their own will or are let go?

You've just gone through a long job search process; you’ve been offered a new role; you’re ready to hand in your resignation… when hocus-pocus, your employer gives you a counter-offer.

Contemplating a wicked counter-offer can be confusing, stressful and time-consuming. Here we give you our top tips on how to effectively manage a counter-offer, so you don’t get haunted by it later on.

1. Be prepared.

The offer of an increased salary or a promotion from your current SAP or tech role can be quite tempting, so it’s important to prepare ahead of your resignation discussion.

Here are some things to consider ahead of counter offer talks:

  • Why are you only being recognised with a pay rise or promotion now? 
  • Are you ready for any promotion that has been offered to you? 
  • Which role and company do you prefer? 
  • If you stay, how will your colleagues and your manager perceive you? 
  • Where will you be happier in two years?

Take the time to reflect on the situation. If you’ve been working with a tech recruitment agency for your job search, then chat to them to gain further clarity. If you’re sure that you’re ready to leave your employer and nothing can sway you to stay, let them know that straight away. You could even ask them not to counter-offer and avoid the pressured situation. 

If you do entertain counter-offer discussions, stay focused and think about why you started looking for a new job in the first place. Have you been paid unfairly for your work (you can compare your SAP salary to others in the industry by using RED Global’s Salary Hub) or not been given the recognition you deserve? Will a sudden increase or promotion genuinely change the way you feel about your role? 

2. Understand the situation.

When contemplating a counter offer, be sure to evaluate your employer’s motives behind it. Was a promotion or salary increase on the horizon? Sometimes telling your employer about leaving the business can be the necessary incentive to speed up your well-deserved promotion or salary increase, which may have been put off due to other priorities. If a counter offer feels like a natural step up in your current organisation, rather than a knee jerk reaction, considering it is sensible.

If on the other hand it doesn’t feel like a natural step, perhaps there is another reason for the counter-offer. Hiring new talent is expensive and managers know that. Gallup estimates that replacing a professional can cost 150% or more of the job’s annual salary. This means that often in the case of an employee leaving the business, increasing their salary works out cheaper than hiring and training a replacement. 

When faced with a counter-offer, especially if it is a dramatic increase or feels like a sudden promotion, keep in mind that an increase in your salary might simply be a tactic, providing the time for your employer to succession plan. Talking this over with your tech recruitment agency contact could help you decipher your counter offer. 

3. Consider work relationships.

Positive work relationships contribute to a fulfilling and enjoyable work environment. If you’ve had a great relationship with your manager, this dynamic may change when you tell them your plans to leave the company. Consider the potential of management questioning your loyalty. Although a perception, this can affect previously strong relationships. 

4. Follow your gut.

When faced with a counter-offer, often the best thing to do is follow your instincts.

Have you felt valued throughout your entire employment or only after discussing your impending resignation? Have you felt supported in your role? If you’ve answered ‘No’, staying with your employer might only provide short-term comfort. 57% of candidates accept counter offers, however, 9 out of 10 of them will leave their employer within 12 months. This might be because candidates often focus on money and short-term benefits that a counter-offer might bring. For lasting positive changes in your career, it’s important to realise a job isn’t just about money – it is also about being challenged, appreciated, and fulfilled. If you cannot use these words to describe your current role, you’re likely better off following your gut feeling and moving on.

5. Handle with grace.

Whatever decision you make, handle it with grace and respect. 

If you decide to leave your current role for the new one, thank your employer for the offer and let them know it wasn’t an easy decision. Don’t burn bridges by complaining about the company and your colleagues. 

If you decide to stay in your current role and turn down the new one, highlight your appreciation on the job offer. They will no doubt be disappointed, especially as they will have invested time into you already. Let them know how difficult it was to make your decision and be honest about why you’ve decided to stay.

In conclusion, the temptation of accepting a counter offer is understandable. It’s a decision that requires a lot of deep thought. If the reason for looking for a new job in the first place is salary, then you should consider asking for a pay rise before you start a new job search. If you’re in a work slump, speak to your boss or HR team to find ways to motivate yourself and enjoy work again. If all else fails, begin your job search process and get in touch with a tech recruitment agency like RED Global to discuss your career journey. 

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