Candidates sit firmly in the driver’s seat in the current job market, making it easier for finance professionals to find new roles that offer better pay, benefits, advancement opportunities, remote work options, and more. Research by Robert Half has found that 88% of workers feel confident about their skills and marketability, and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there’s still more than one job opening for every person seeking new employment.
But managers also understand the reality of the job market. Since losing their top performers is a recurring problem, they may not let you leave your current role without making a strong effort to keep you.
After you hand in your notice, don’t be surprised if you receive a generous counteroffer that may include a higher salary, more paid time off, or expanded perks. But beware—these deals are oftentimes too good to be true. They might seem attractive on the surface, but accepting them may prove to be risky.
The following are a few reasons why you might want to think twice before accepting a counteroffer and staying with your current employer.
Your employer might question your loyalty. Announcing your intention to resign can irrevocably change the way your employer thinks about you. If you accept a counteroffer and remain at the company, management may begin to question your loyalty, seeing you as someone who isn’t fully invested in the organization’s success.
This puts you in a precarious position. If there’s a promotion available, you might be passed over because leadership isn’t sure of your commitment. Furthermore, if the company is forced to lay off employees, you might be among the first to go since you’re perceived as having one foot out the door already.
You should also consider that accepting a counteroffer will affect your relationships with your coworkers. They may feel like you’ve received special treatment and may become resentful. This can create a difficult work environment and may even undercut your effectiveness on the job.
Counteroffers rarely solve underlying problems. While a salary boost may be tempting, it won’t fix what’s already broken. If you’re feeling underappreciated and overworked at times, you will probably still feel that way even if you’re making more money. Likewise, if you feel out of sync with your teammates or your company’s organizational culture, a raise won’t make those issues disappear.
Before jumping to accept a counteroffer, take a step back and think about why you wanted to leave in the first place. Unless you can say with certainty that an increase in pay or other benefits will solve the issues that drove you to look for new opportunities, it’s likely best to move on.
Rejecting a new job offer could burn bridges. With high inflation and an uncertain economic outlook, a substantial counteroffer can be especially appealing. But a potential consequence of accepting a counteroffer is hurting your career prospects. If you rescind an already accepted offer from a new employer, it’s unlikely this employer will give you a second chance if you’re still unhappy a few months later.
That company invested time and effort in recruiting you, an investment it will have to repeat with someone else if you turn down the offer.
Accepting the offer could alter your own perceptions. A counteroffer isn’t the same as a promotion. Even if you agree to a higher salary and attractive new perks and benefits, your job title and core responsibilities will likely remain unchanged. This has the potential to cause friction in your own attitude toward your coworkers, especially if their behavior toward you changes, as previously mentioned.
You’ll also likely find yourself less invested in your position. While temporarily it might be nice to receive a higher salary and more perks, the core problems will remain unchanged, and you’ll likely find your passion and motivation slipping.
It could be a while before you get another raise. Finance and accounting salaries are trending upward as companies compete for top talent and employees switch jobs in droves. Indeed, Robert Half’s 2023 Salary Guide found that 82% of senior managers have given raises to employees who expressed salary concerns.
If you accept a counteroffer now, how strong will your negotiating position be when you ask for a raise next year? The answer will vary depending on the attitude of your employer.
If the employer has come to view you as a flight risk, you may find your pay eventually falling behind that of colleagues who are viewed as more loyal and committed.
HOW TO MOVE ON THE RIGHT WAY
When you’ve made up your mind to leave, it’s important that you do it the right way. Be sure to tell your manager first, don’t burn any bridges, and don’t leave your team in the lurch. It’s far from ideal, for example, to quit your job in the middle of a big project. Support coworkers who will be taking on your responsibilities, and offer to help train your replacement if one is lined up.
Communication with your soon-to-be-former coworkers won’t likely cease the moment you leave your position. If you’re remaining in the same industry, your paths will continue to cross, and souring a relationship on the way out will only make things more difficult for you later on. Furthermore, in tight-knit industries, leaving your employer on bad terms could lead to ill feelings with your manager that might be spread among leaders in the profession.
Be a resource for your company on your way out, and you’ll start the next leg of your career journey on the right foot. This is a courtesy you would wish for yourself should you have an employee under you resign. As a resource for your employer, you’ll aid the success for anyone stepping into your role, which will certainly be looked upon favorably. This will aid in quelling any negative feelings associated with your departure. Accept the counteroffer, on the other hand, and you risk stalling your career journey.