Counteroffers – Do the rewards outweigh the risks?

Staffing job counteroffers mee Derby

Employee retention is something we discuss a lot at Mee Derby. Every day we come face to face with the decision-making processes of talented staffing leaders who are weighing the pros and cons of continuing in their current position or pursuing another job opportunity. We also bear witness to employers’ attempt to retain all-star employees by extending competitive counteroffers of higher salaries, sometimes even more benefits and promotions.


Last week, Robert Half International Inc. released results from a survey of senior managers across a variety of professional fields, looking into the tactic of extending counteroffers to keep employees from leaving for another job.

Read the full press release on SIA Daily News.


58% of senior managers said they do extend counteroffers to employees who are considering leaving. When asked how long employees who accept counteroffers end up staying with the company, the mean response was 1.7 years.

“Although it may seem like a solution to retain employees when the unemployment rate remains low, statistics show the counteroffer rarely ends favorably for managers.”

Robert Half summarized their findings in this blog post with a very helpful infographic: 5 Reasons to Think Twice About Extending a Salary Counteroffer.


“We don’t often experience candidates accepting counteroffers,” said Mee Derby President Robin Mee, “since staffing professionals are knowledgeable about the risk of doing so. The very occasional time that I have had someone accept a counteroffer, they have always left their jobs within the following 6 months.”


We all know counteroffers are tough to combat, but this report brings up some critical points to both the person that accepts a counteroffer and the firm that offers the counteroffer — it’s not a long term strategy and in most cases doesn’t solve the issue at hand on either side of the equation.


Accepting a counteroffer that is financially driven can be risky from the standpoint of increased expectations, decreased credibility and your value to the organization being viewed differently.   


If you’re at risk of losing an employee to competition, it may be in your best interest to let them go and rethink your retention strategy as a whole. Perhaps it’s time to restructure your business model to better compensate and incentivize your employees.