The Employment Counter Offer

You’re convinced you’re underpaid. Delineating your value to your employer you politely ask for a salary increase. Despite your best efforts, however, you are denied. Deciding it’s time to move on, you conduct a job search and land an offer for a similar position which comes with a salary higher than you’re earning now. Your current employer learns of this and offers you a raise if you’ll stay. That raise would increase your salary several thousand dollars above the new offer you just got.

Welcome to the world of the counter offer!

When it comes to career management, a counter offer is one of the trickiest situations to handle. Initially, you might find it flattering as you now have not one, but two, employers that want you and want to pay you more than what you were earning before this started. If your primary motivation in making the job change was about salary, than it might be tempting to accept your company’s counter offer and stay put. Of course, if there are other reasons you were unhappy with your present employer, those will likely remain ongoing frustrations. In addition, accepting a counter-offer often changes the workplace dynamic for the staying employee as you may now be viewed as a staffer who is not in it for the long haul.

The extra cash they just gave you may not come with the mindset of thinking you were truly underpaid and worth more, but may be viewed as a way to temporarily placate you and keep you from leaving right now. Down the road, at a more convenient time for the organization, you may be replaced because management believes you are now overpaid. Another possibility is that you will ultimately give back the salary gain you made as your employer decides to get a little stingy during your next scheduled salary review.

On the flip side, there are always some risks to accepting a position with a new employer. This new job may not turn out to be the wonderful opportunity it was advertised to be. Your new boss could be a tyrant, your new colleagues downright unfriendly, or you might have to put in 10-hour days just to keep afloat. Yes, all sorts of pitfalls might await you.

In the end, you will need to assess whether your present employer truly values you at the level at which he or she now says they are willing to pay AND whether your initial decision to leave was all about money in the first place.

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