Should I stay or should I go – the ultimate career clash!

Throughout our careers most of us will be faced with the daunting task of telling our boss that it’s time for us to move on.  The reactions that follow often stretch across the emotional spectrum, from a smile and pat on the back (eek! what did I do wrong?) to the grave (and sometimes tear-worthy) disappointment and hurt that it seems to have caused.  Many employers will go through a hasty evaluation as to whether you are simply indispensable to them or whether the search for your replacement is going to cause a monumental business headache and cost. So if you’re embarking on the hunt for a new job it’s well worth considering in advance the impact of handing your notice in and the potential counter offer that awaits you.

Why now?

  • It’s taken for you to resign for your boss to address your concerns and that pay review/promotion you deserve.  So why the delayed recognition?  Chances are that you have aired some of your views at appraisals/open meetings and your concerns have so far been unresolved.  Think about why it has taken such an extreme course of action for your effort and skills to be recognised


  • Cost – Part of the reason you may now be considered indispensable may be down to the cost of filling your position.  It’s much cheaper to offer you a proportion of the cost of recruiting taking into consideration recruitment fees, campaigns and disruption. 
  • Time – Recruitment and waiting for a replacement to start could take a long time impacting the business financially particularly in a sector short of someone with your abilities.  With your position vacant it could cost your company a huge amount with projects held up/work unfulfilled.
  • Knowledge/Training – Your intimate knowledge of the business will take a lot of time and investment to replicate, is your company really in a position to spare the time and money for this?

If you stay….

  • Has anything really improved? – Heather Huhman (Careers Expert and Writer) claims that according to the National Employment Association, 80 percent of employees who decide to accept a counteroffer are no longer with the company six months later.  You may now be earning more but often the motivating factors that drove your job hunt have not improved or been addressed
  • Resentment – Has your decision to leave created doubt over your commitment and loyalty within the business and could this be hampering your future progression and relationships with management?
  • Burning bridges – In most instances it is unlikely that the company you turned down will look as favourably upon a future application, that could be one less prospect for your next job hunt.
  • Priced out? – You could now be well above market-rate for your skills and experience to be attractive to another business (what we call ‘The Golden Handcuffs’) and face the prospect of a pay-cut to move on.

All this said…

  • All businesses are different. There may be genuine reasoning as to what is going to change, why the future is bright and why you should stay. It’s your call, but hopefully this post will help raise the right considerations to help form your decision making process. 

Increase in Counters

Counter-offers are becoming more commonplace in sectors with a national shortage of skilled employees such as IT and engineering according to Tom Hadley, policy director at the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).  “I know [people staying because of counter-offers] is leading to frustration among recruiters and client companies,” he said. “You’ve almost got to anticipate a counter-offer.”  This is slowing down the recruitment process, leading to a big increase in demand for interim and contract staff to cover gaps, this can become very expensive.

We’re not saying that in all cases you should ignore a counter-offer, in rare cases it really can be a positive change for your career.  Bear in mind the above however, sometimes the grass really can be greener!

We’d love to hear your views.

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Head Of Tech (Permanent)

CTO/Leads, Developers, GreenTech

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Mike Harley