Make A Counteroffer? Most CFOs Say No


The rock star on your finance team has announced he’s going to work somewhere else and handed in his resignation. Everything was going so well, and the idea of hiring his replacement is daunting. What if there was a way to keep him — by matching whatever his new employer promises to pay, or perhaps more? That would be a counteroffer, and counteroffers aren’t cool.

In a new Robert Half survey of 2,200 chief financial officers, 78 percent said they don’t extend counteroffers to entice employees from leaving for another job.  

Why should a counteroffer be off the table?

A counteroffer isn’t a long-term remedy

If an employee stays after coming so close to leaving, the counteroffer would likely be just a temporary fix.

“Offering more money to someone to prevent him or her from quitting doesn’t typically solve the issue that prompted that person to resign in the first place,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half.

A counteroffer can have a ripple effect  

Thirty-four percent of the CFOs surveyed who have extended counteroffers said they also had to give raises to other employees in their department. Imagine what that could do to a company’s salary structure and operating costs.

A counteroffer can backfire

Counteroffers can prompt loyalty concerns and even resentment among the rest of the team, who may go so far as to threaten to quit to receive a raise, too.

“Employees’ frustration over their salaries," McDonald added, "could fester into a bigger problem of feeling undervalued and unappreciated, which more money via a counteroffer won’t be able to remedy.”

Career paths aren’t the same as they used to be, with job-hopping becoming the new norm. In the United States, workers stay with one employer for an average of only 4.6 years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But there are ways to retain your top-performing accounting and finance team members, and the 2015 Salary Guide from Robert Half can help you determine if what you’re paying them will keep you in the game.

Have you ever extended a counteroffer to an employee who was leaving?