In the dynamic landscape of recruitment, navigating the complex waters of counteroffers demands both careful thought and keen insight.  At Hunter Savage, with our expertise across various sectors including Accountancy and Finance, Legal, HR, Engineering & Operations, Built Environment, Financial Services & Insurance and Life Sciences, we have observed first-hand the complexities and outcomes of counteroffer scenarios. This past year especially, we have seen companies going to remarkable lengths to retain their staff, employing strategies that range from enhanced salary and benefits counteroffers to offering holidays and hotel getaways.  This raises the question: are these gestures genuine acts of appreciation or simply a flattery-laden trap of the counteroffer?

The Reality of Counteroffers

Counteroffers can seem attractive in the short term, offering increased salary, better titles, or more benefits. However, they often fail to address the core reasons an employee considered leaving. Our experience across the market shows that accepting a counteroffer can lead to long-term dissatisfaction.

Understanding Counteroffers

At the heart of a counteroffer is an employer's attempt to retain talent by matching or exceeding an external offer received by the employee. While flattering, these offers can sometimes be traps, leading to unforeseen complications down the line. From our observations, here are some critical reasons to approach counteroffers with caution:

  • Recognition Shouldn’t Require Resignation: True value comes from being recognised without having to threaten to leave.
  • Questionable Financial Practices: Counteroffers often prompt questions about the source of the funds. Is it merely your next raise, presented in advance?
  • Trust and Loyalty Concerns: Accepting a counteroffer may make your loyalty suspect, affecting future relationships with your employer.
  • Impact on Career Progression: There's a risk that your willingness to initially leave may hinder your chances at future promotions.
  • Recurring Dissatisfactions: The factors that motivated you to look elsewhere are likely to persist, even after accepting a counteroffer.
  • Reduced Job Security: Your position may become precarious once it's known you considered leaving.
  • Peer Relationships: Acceptance of a counteroffer can alter the dynamics with colleagues, potentially affecting teamwork and morale.
  • Professional Integrity: Agreeing to a counteroffer might be perceived as lacking in professional integrity, suggesting you're easily swayed by financial gain.

Expert Insight

Stephanie Mulholland, our Commercial Director with over 20 years of recruitment experience, offers her perspective: "Navigating counteroffers is a complex process that requires understanding both the immediate appeal and the long-term ramifications. Over my two decades in recruitment, I've seen many professionals swayed by the immediate financial incentives of counteroffers, only to encounter the underlying issues that prompted their initial desire to leave resurface and before you know it, they are back in touch looking for new opportunities. That is why at Hunter Savage, we try to manage this from the beginning of the process to understand a candidates reasons for leaving and typically if it is just a raise, we tend to advise them to speak to their employer. By the time a candidate receives an offer, it’s essential to consider not just the offer itself, but what accepting it signifies about your professional path and relationships within the company."

Hunter Savage’s Advice on Navigating Counteroffers

Based on our extensive market experience, we advise professionals to:

  • Reflect Deeply: Consider the core reasons behind your initial decision to leave.
  • Seek Professional Guidance: Consult with recruitment experts like our experienced team at Hunter Savage who can offer unbiased advice based on a comprehensive understanding of the market and your career aspirations.
  • Consider Long-Term Goals: Ensure your decision aligns with your broader professional objectives and not just immediate benefits.


While the lure of a counteroffer is strong, our insights suggest that they are often a short-term solution to deeper issues. Before making a decision, it's crucial to evaluate the offer critically, considering both the immediate benefits and the long-term implications on your career trajectory. At Hunter Savage, we are committed to providing our candidates and clients with the guidance needed to make informed decisions that align with their career goals and aspirations.

For any advice on your career journey or to speak to us about a particular role, contact a member of our team today.



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