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How to Respond to Counter Offers in 2023

Posted on 27 Feb, 2023

The first couple of months of the year are a popular time for people to move on to new opportunities in their career. Many take the time over Christmas to appraise their lives and whether or not their current workplace is offering creative and financial satisfaction. They see a new year as a new page in their own personal story and the ideal time to search for a higher-paying position at another firm.

Last year, we talked about handing in your notice and, in particular, what you should do if your current employer makes a counter offer once you hand in your notice. If anything, the topic is even more relevant in 2023 than it was in 2022. With the cost of living crisis, striking public sector workers, and a greater awareness of employee worth, companies are loathed to lose experienced and talented staff, so making counter-offers is now much more tempting for them.

While it’s always nice to feel wanted, it’s worth asking yourself why it took a resignation letter for your company to offer you better pay and conditions. In this article, we’re going to look at some key aspects of a counter-offer that you should consider before deciding one way or another:

Why weren’t you offered this deal before now?

If you hand in your resignation letter and are immediately met with a counter-offer, you have to wonder what took them so long. Some employers insist that they appreciate staff have the self-belief and courage to ask for a pay rise or a promotion without prompting from management, but that’s a pretty toxic work environment. It also suggests that managers save money by discouraging staff from asking for a raise. Is that really someone you want to be working for? If they only feel you’re worth the money when you’re halfway out of the door, do they really appreciate you, or is it easier to keep you than recruit and train a replacement?

What does your counter-offer entail?

Let’s say they give you a counter-offer that’s comparable to your new job offer – what are they expecting from you? Even if the job title remains the same, will they expect you to work harder to justify your increase in pay? From your perspective, absolutely not – the reason you’re leaving is that you’re not getting paid what you felt you were worth. However, they might see it differently – even if you continue to work at your customary high level, they might expect more, and mark you down on any staff evaluations for not achieving it. If you really do intend to accept the offer, make sure your duties are set in stone.

What’s to stop it from happening again?

So you take the offer, stay with the firm you like and with people that you know, but on more money and with better conditions. What happens 1-2 years down the line when you find yourself in the same situation? Will you be put at the back of the queue for future raises, promotions, or bonuses because you’ve just negotiated a good counter-offer? Will colleagues resent you for making more money than them for the same job?

Is it worth burning bridges?

If you accept the counter-offer, you will need to reject the other company's offer. People in the design industry talk to one another and, while they might not hold it against you for getting a better deal, you don’t want to get a reputation as someone who flakes out of a good job opening. It’s important to remember that not all companies are created equal. What you’re getting from your new firm is your base level, somewhere you can work up from. A last-minute counter-offer from your current employer might be as high as they are prepared to go.

Whether you stay or you go, life is always full of changes. The next time you are looking for a change in your design career, remember to check out the latest vacancies at Careers in Design. You can also register to receive the latest job alerts as the vacancies are posted.

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