After you turn in your resignation, you expect to put in two more weeks before starting at your new company. Yet due to today’s tight labor market, your boss may ask you to reconsider—and tempt you to stay with a raise.
Indeed, of the creative executives interviewed for a recent survey from The Creative Group, 14% said that their organization is extending more counteroffers today than six months ago. In a separate survey of workers, 44% of respondents said they’ve been presented with a counteroffer after giving notice.
Your first thought may be warm fuzzies: Your employer adores and can’t bear the thought of losing you. More money isn’t too shabby, either, especially if you’ll be earning the same or more than the salary your new company agreed to. But the big question is: Should you stay or should you go?
One benefit of staying—besides higher pay—is not having to navigate a new work environment, professional relationships and processes. But the negatives can outweigh the positives. In fact, 13% of workers who were presented with a counteroffer accepted it but later regretted the decision. Every situation is different, and there are several factors that can make staying the wrong choice.
7 Things to Consider Before Accepting a Counteroffer
1. It solves few problems.
Before accepting a counteroffer, ask yourself why you applied for another job in the first place. If the only factor was to net a higher salary, then staying at your current workplace may be okay. But if you were unhappy due to boredom, conflicts with management or coworkers, or lack of feedback or professional development opportunities, recognize that more money won’t solve these issues.
2. Management will expect a quid pro quo.
There’s no such thing as a no-strings raise. Even if your boss acknowledges that you’ve been underpaid, a sudden increase in compensation is usually followed by a corresponding uptick in responsibilities. In some cases, that might be a positive development. But the fact is, you’d likely be getting more money because you’d be doing more work.
3. You may be let go.
No company wants to be caught short-staffed, and you’ve already signaled an intention to leave. By extending a counteroffer, your boss may be keeping you on the job while quietly recruiting your replacement. Once they find someone to fill your shoes, you may find yourself out the door and without that new position waiting for you.
4. Collegiality may suffer.
People expect equal treatment, and many believe a company should either issue across-the-board pay increases or award raises based on performance. A counteroffer fits in neither of those categories. When colleagues find out you’re getting more money simply because you accepted another opportunity, they may get the impression you didn’t earn it and resent you.
5. You may feel dissatisfied with your job.
One of the key drivers of happiness for creatives is feeling appreciated for the work they do. But if you receive a pay increase only when you are about to leave, then how much did your employer really value your contributions?
6. Future raises and bonuses may be on the line.
Is the additional money from a counteroffer really a raise, or just an advance on future payments? The next time your firm gives out merit-based pay increases, your employer may skip you since you’ve already received a salary bump.
7. You risk burning bridges.
When you accept an offer from another employer, you’ve agreed to start your new job on a certain date. Going back on your word puts that company in a bind and puts your relationship in danger. While that may not be an immediate worry, it could limit your future career opportunities with them —and at other companies the hiring managers end up at down the road.
There’s something to be said about making a commitment and sticking to it. While there may be some pluses to accepting a current employer’s counteroffer, you should take time to reflect on whether the potential pitfalls make it a wise move for your creative career.