How to handle a counteroffer from your employer

If you resign from your mining job, there’s a very good chance your employer will come to you with a counteroffer. Here’s what to do.

If you resign from your mining job these days, there’s a very good chance your employer will come to you with a counteroffer.

A counteroffer is when you hand in your notice and, soon after, your boss comes back to you with incentives to convince you to stay—usually an increase in pay, but it could equally be improved conditions or a promotion.

In an industry like mining, which is experiencing an ongoing skills shortage that means competition for experienced and qualified labour is high, counteroffers are now relatively common.

Reasons your boss might make a counteroffer

There are good reasons your employer might try to keep you onboard.

  • They don’t want to lose you or your skills
  • Hiring and training up your replacement costs a lot of money and takes time
  • There’s a natural dip in morale and productivity when someone leaves a company.

For the sake of a pay rise of perhaps 15% or 20%, a counteroffer can save your employer a lot of hassle.

But that’s what’s in it for your boss. What’s in it for you? Should you take the counteroffer, or move on?

What to consider before accepting a counteroffer

Receiving a counteroffer is very flattering. You’ll feel great. But that doesn’t mean accepting it is your best option. Studies show about half of all people who accept a counteroffer end up leaving the company anyway inside a year.

It’s OK to enjoy the flattery, but here are some things to consider before you say yes to staying.

  • What were your reasons for wanting to leave and does the offer address them? (Did you want more money? Or was it something like a poor culture or a lack of opportunity, which are unlikely to change)
  • Is the offer enough? (Or are you really ready for a fresh start somewhere else? Would anything really change if you stayed?)
  • What was it that attracted you to your new employer? (Why did you apply for the job? What made you say yes to the offer? Has that changed?)
  • What do you sense are the motives behind your current employer’s counteroffer? (Do they really value you or are they just trying to save themselves the expense of replacing you?)

What to do if you receive a counteroffer

It’s vital to handle a counteroffer professionally. It’s very easy to get carried away and burn bridges. That might feel great in the moment, but it can always come back to bite you down the track.

  • Keep your communication professional at all times. Be open, honest and respectful with both your new and current employers. They’ll appreciate your candour, even if you ultimately make a decision that disappoints them.
  • By all means consider the counteroffer closely. Take a couple of days to think about it, if you need them. Employers will understand.
  • Remember why you were leaving. Go back over your rationale for deciding to move on. Have the reasons materially changed? And what is your gut telling you?
  • Talk to your recruiter. If you went through a specialist mining industry recruiter like MPI, talk to your consultant. They’ve seen hundreds of counteroffers in the past. What advice do they have?

In the end, you’ll make the decision you believe is best for you. Once you’ve made it, communicate it professionally. Thank everyone involved. Be courteous and generous. People remember manners like that—and, you never know, it might just help you next time you’re looking for a job.

Time to look for a new mining job? MPI has been a mining industry recruitment specialist for almost 30 years. Register with us here and let us help you find the right job.

Dan Hatch
Mining People International