Negotiating a Salary Counter Offer for a Job

Negotiating a salary and benefits package for a new job can be extremely stressful. Things can become even trickier if your current employer makes a counter offer to incentivize you to stay. This offer typically comes in the form of an increased title, salary, and benefits package. A CareerBuilder survey reports that over half of workers (56%) don’t negotiate for more money when they are offered a new job. The reasons include not being comfortable asking for more money (51%), worrying that employer will decide not to hire them if they ask (47%), or not wanting to appear greedy (36%). Have no fear, there is a way to successfully navigate the new job salary maze and come out ahead.


Should you accept a counter offer?


Most headhunters will tell you to never take counter offer from your current employer.  Once you have made the decision to leave your current employer you should never look back.  According to recruitment specialist Oliver Cooke, once you’ve expressed your desire to move on, going back on that decision could be one of the worst moves of your career.


Tom Ragland, Managing Partner at Harrison Rush disagrees. “I think in certain cases taking a counter offer is a good thing. If you like the culture of your employer and you are leaving for compensation reasons, then offering you more money to stay is an easy fix.”


No Amount of Money Can Fix a Toxic Work Environment


If the money at your current employer is good but you hate the people you work with then, by all means, get out. Money issues can be fixed but a toxic work environment is a much heavier lift. If you trust your boss, but her hands are tied, a counteroffer may force her superiors to make changes to keep you. If you are leaving for more money or a better title, most of the time a quality counter offer can fix those issues. Just make sure to get the offer in writing!


Tom Ragland recalls “A few years back I had a candidate who had an offer to leave his current employer – a large Japanese bank for a similar role at a bulge bracket European bank. He loved the culture and environment however he was paid 20% below market. When he went to resign, the bank and his MD countered and matched the compensation of the bulge bracket.” He was thrilled and decided to stay. Two years later he was promoted to Managing Director.”


Using Your New Job Offer as Leverage


There is nothing wrong with using another offer for leverage however counter offers from your current employer are not a given. You’ve always got to be prepared to actually take the job (Plan B) in case your request for a sweetened deal out of your current organization (Plan A) backfires. According to Fast Company, conveying your loyalty is paramount. As you make your case, be very careful not to sound demanding or threatening. This is critical because if you strike an adversarial tone, your boss will probably just congratulate you on the offer and encourage you to take it. Also, don’t forget to reinforce how much you like and appreciate the current corporate culture.


So the next time you hear a headhunter or trusted mentor say “never take a counter offer” just remember, in the right circumstances a counter offer is a terrific opportunity. Always trust your gut.

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Sources: the-counter-offer-one-step-forward-two-steps-back/