Tips for Negotiating a Counteroffer (Before You Quit Your Job)

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There comes a time in most careers when it’s time to quit your job and move on.

There are many reasons that these things happen. Sometimes you don’t feel valued enough within a company. Other positions may offer better compensation and health benefits. Or too many years have gone by without a title change or raise.

Whether you find a new job or take some time off, you have decided to hand in your notice and prepare for your last few days with the company before moving on.  

But what if your employer feels you are too valuable to lose and doesn’t want you to leave? 

They may make a counteroffer with the hopes of keeping you.

This actually happens more often than people realize! According to a 2019 survey conducted by ZipRecruiter, nearly half of employers have counteroffered with an employee who was ready to move on.

As a professional, you must decide if this counteroffer is beneficial or not. It isn’t always as cut and dry as an employer asking you to please stay. There is a lot to consider.

Here are a few ways to navigate negotiating a counteroffer and decide if it’s worth it to stay or if you should quit your job.

Why Does Your Employer Want You to Stay?

Your employer may have several different motives for wanting you to stay.

One of those reasons could be that they value you as a worker.

They know that it will be a hindrance to their business to lose you (and any clientele that may follow you in your next endeavor). Your work to them is irreplaceable. Or they know that the other workers depend on you as a cornerstone of their business.

Many employers keep their employees around because they feel comfortable with them and have developed a strong working relationship.

Adversely, they could dread the thought of searching for someone new to take the position. Filing a job role isn’t as simple as posting the vacancy on a job site and picking someone.

The amount of work that goes into the hiring process often costs a company. They are required to measure every potential worker who comes through their doors, as well as train any new staff member. For many companies, this is too much.

Although they want you to stay to make their jobs easier and reduce costs, you can use these selfish reasons to your advantage when counteroffering.

Should You Negotiate a Counteroffer?

Regardless of what your boss wants, the decision to find new a new job or not is up to you.

You must decide if you would like to negotiate a counteroffer or if better opportunities await. Both of these choices come with benefits and drawbacks.

First, you need to pinpoint your reasons for wanting to leave your job and consider whether or not these things can be changed.

If you don’t feel valued by your current employer, then negotiating may not fill that void.

Most of us like to know that there is room in a company to advance. If you find there is no room to grow, it may be time for your next venture.

Give yourself the credit you deserve! Staying at a job for convenience is not always the right option.

Weigh out what this job offers. Will it provide you with steady security? Is the work fulfilling and rewarding? Or is there another company out there that will make you happier?

Remember, the people from your former jobs are the ones most likely to get you your next one. Do not burn bridges here by negotiating in bad faith.” – Ian Siegel, ZipRecruiter CEO

Negotiating With a New Job Offer

If you already have a new job lined up, using it as a negotiation tactic isn’t a bad idea. By informing your current employer of the new job offer, you have the chance to use this as leverage.

Being underpaid is one of the main reasons people want to quit and make a career change. If a change in pay is what you’ve been looking for, this is the time to bring it up. Reason with your boss and let them know that the wage isn’t covering your efforts.

Letting them know that the pay is unsatisfactory could show them that they have a chance to keep you on their team. If the new position offers you more money or other benefits, this is the time to tell your previous employer.

This could be the way to get a raise that has long been owed.

 Salary Is Not the Only Thing to Consider

If you’re considering staying at your job, there is more than the salary to consider when negotiating.

Health Benefits & Insurance

Is there a way that your benefits could be improved?

Talk to your boss and tell them that you want to look into a better plan if you do choose to stay.

Always keep your health in perspective. Negotiating health and even dental insurance should be a right that can help you live a healthier life.

Recommended Article: 25+ Companies With The Best Benefits In 2021

Your Schedule

Is it a better schedule you’re after? Is your current schedule causing you problems?

Hours can be a significant factor in leaving a current position. If you have been unhappy with your schedule or feel like you’ve been putting in too many hours without compensation for them, it’s time to speak up.

Letting your boss know that they could keep you by changing your hours is an important start.

When you negotiate with your employer, figure out if there is a better schedule that will work for both you and the company. Talking about how it would benefit the business can make your boss see things in your favor.

Setting boundaries with your employers is an integral part of working for a company. Overworking employees sometimes does not occur to employers, so they might not realize that it’s the reason you want to quit.

When you bring work hours to their attention and reason with them, it could lead to a solution where you stay at your current job.

A Promotion

Going without a promotion for a long time can also make you feel like it’s time to leave. Negotiating with your company for a better title such as supervisor or manager or a pay raise can be a necessary change. If this is what you have been waiting for, bring it up to your boss.

Clarify for them the amount of work that you have done. Show your employer that you’ve demonstrated your abilities to move ahead. Doing so can help you successfully get the promotion you deserve.

Remote Work

What we have learned over the past year is that many positions can be done remotely.

If you prefer to work remotely, map out a plan and show it to your boss. State to them that you can do your job from home (especially if you already have been) and that you want to continue to do so.

Other Considerations

There are also other benefits and work perks that might be missing from your current job. If these are important to you or are offered with another company somewhere else, include them in your counteroffer negotiations.

These can include:

  • Paid time off or more vacation time
  • 401K matching, pension plans, or other retirement savings plans
  • Reimbursement for your cell phone, parking fees, daycare costs, gym membership, or gas usage
  • Stock options or profit-sharing
  • Education opportunities such as tuition reimbursement and professional development
  • Student loan repayment assistance
  • Opportunities to travel
  • Use of company car, computer, or equipment
  • Onsite facilities such as a gym, cafeteria, or daycare

These are all areas that should be discussed with your employer before you make a decision. If your employer isn’t on board with changing to accommodate you, it may not be worth staying.

Always be sure you’re happy with your decision before making a commitment.

What Happens If You Decide to Stay?

Often employees feel like once they give their notice, they have to leave no matter what. Concern over staying at a position after giving your notice is common and understandable.

Resentment from Your Coworkers

You may worry that there will be resentment from your coworkers due to the changes made. They may be envious of your “special treatment.”

Although it’s not on you to change their positions with your employer, lead by example. Encourage your coworkers to speak up too if they feel underpaid, undervalued, or unhappy.

Employer Follow Through

There may be concerns over whether or not your employer will follow through. 

The agreements you make if you decide not to leave your job are important guidelines. Will your boss honor those requests and follow through with your arrangements?

Some employers say they will commit to the changes that are requested and never do. Be sure that you feel confident enough in your company to know they will be upheld.

Your Gut Feeling

The most important part of deciding to stay is your own feelings about your job.

Are you going to be happy and thrive at work if you decide to negotiate your position? Or have there been too many bad experiences and burnt bridges that you won’t be able to move past?

 What You Should Do Before Giving Notice

There are several things you can do before putting in your two weeks notice with your employer.

The first thing you should do is try to talk to your employer. Discuss the things that make you unhappy with your position and see if they can fix what you are having difficulties with.

Is there another position within the company that you are better suited for? By gaining more information about other open positions, you may find a better fit.

This may also give your employer a heads up that you’re looking at your options. If you have a good manager, they could see that they need to improve and make some changes in order to keep you.

Do your research. Look at job sites like Indeed and ZipRecruiter and find out if other companies have similar job positions. Look into what these other companies pay and see if your position compares.

Make Sure the Job Is What You Want

When it comes down to it, you need to do what will make you comfortable and happiest at work.

You’re going to be the one working and making a living with this job, so you need to be the one who makes the final call if you want to stay or move on to something new. 

Don’t let your current employer talk you into something that will not make you happy. Sometimes walking away from a company is for the best and will provide you with the benefits you are looking for.

Don’t settle for less than what you want and deserve!

Amanda Kay, the founder of My Life, I Guess, provides valuable career advice and support for anyone striving to make a living and, more importantly, make a life. Whether it's navigating job searches, learning new skills, overcoming unemployment, or dealing with debt, My Life, I Guess has been a go-to resource for career guidance and financial stability since 2013. Amanda's expertise and relatable approach have been featured in trusted publications such as MSN,, Yahoo! Finance, the Ladders and Fairygodboss.

1 thought on “Tips for Negotiating a Counteroffer (Before You Quit Your Job)”

  1. At one point in my career I decided there was more opportunity at one of our competitors and I gave my notice. The owner of our billion dollar company got on his jet and flew to my location and proceeded to show me how much debt the other company was in and how unlikely their survival was. He also said they had plans for me if I’d stay patient a little longer. I was impressed that a billionaire owner of some 50 companies took the time to prevent me from making a bad decision. I stayed, received a generous raise and was running the company three years later.


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