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Fact: Accepting a Counteroffer is a Bad Idea

Posted by: Lynn Sedgwick

When you’ve been planning on leaving your current job for some time, and you interview for and are offered, an exciting new role at a different company, it should be a simple decision. 

But sometimes, when your current employer realises that they don’t want to lose a great employee like yourself, often they will offer an incentive for you to stay - in the form of a counteroffer. 

This can be a confusing time for any employee, especially if your current employer offers a considerably larger salary or an increase in your benefits package. But is it ever wise to accept a counteroffer? 

In my experience, this situation needs some serious consideration, and in this article, I will explain why. 

Is it The Role, or The Company? 

First, I want to get you to think about why it was that you started looking for and applying for jobs in the first place. Working closely with candidates daily, many of them tell me that their primary reason for looking for a new Accountancy role is a higher salary – but there are often more factors at play. 

During your job search, were you focused on finding a role that that will provide you with more job satisfaction, and a higher salary than you get currently, or was it more about getting away from your current company? 

It is now common for employees across all sectors to change their jobs every couple of years, with four years now considered the optimum amount of time to stay in one role, in terms of progression and earning potential. 

If you have been with your company longer than this and have seen colleagues come and go, this can create a feeling that you have been ‘left behind’ when former employees have moved on to ‘bigger and better’ things. 

Is this the reason fuelling your desire for a new job, or does the problem run deeper? Let’s look at some of the more serious reasons that cause people to leave their jobs. 

Leaving vs Staying in a Toxic Workplace 

If the drive behind your move was that your workplace was toxic, you don’t fit in with the culture, or that the staff are unmotivated and the practices unorganised, all of these things will still be in place after accepting a counteroffer; is the extra salary going to be worth it? 

An overly demanding schedule, negative work environment and a lack of any real work-life balance can all be draining on your mental health, which can have serious repercussions. 

If you have felt stressed in your accounting job for a while, have frequently had to stay late to complete invoices or received no help from your Manager when you had a short, unexpected deadline - these problems will not be solved by staying purely for a pay rise. 

It’s About More Than Money 

I want you to take a moment to think about your Accountancy career. When we get wrapped up in our day-to-day duties, we can forget about the bigger picture of our ultimate career goals – what was your dream for your Accountancy career when you first started? 

Did you plan to help your first company streamline their processes to help make the processes easier for every team member? Did you want to work your way up to become an accounting supervisor? 

Real job satisfaction is rarely all about the money – it is proven that the happiest employees are those that get a sense of purpose and achievement from their work. If the counteroffer your Manager proposes is based solely around offering your money, but with no mention of improving any issues you have around the nature of your work, I must stress that it is not advisable to accept a counteroffer of this nature. 

Your Ultimate Career Goal? 

Lastly, but by no means least, I want to highlight how potentially harmful accepting a counteroffer can be to your ultimate career goal. 

The recruitment process is by no means quick or easy. You will likely have spent weeks researching roles, applying and interviewing for your new job; a strong drive must have been behind these decisions. 

Where do you see yourself in 10 or 15 years, or even beyond that? Do you see yourself as a Chief Financial Officer, or branching out to become a Tax Specialist or a Financial Analyst? 

Whatever your ultimate career goal is, think about how accepting this counteroffer to stay with the same company is going to impact the trajectory of your career. 

Despite giving a counteroffer, when a Manager is faced with the knowledge that their employee was planning to leave, this can destroy all trust. Possible consequences of this include being shunned and ostracised by your colleagues, being excluded from projects and company decisions, which can stagnate your progression within this company, and thus, your entire career. 


Are you currently thinking about applying for a new accounting job? Get in touch with Clayton Recruitment today – we specialise in matching candidates their perfect roles. We take care of the entire process, from your first enquiry to negotiating your contract. 


Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989, and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability. 

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial, Nursing, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here

If you would like to download our latest interview checklist, you can do so here

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