How to avoid “counteroffer shame”– a proactive approach to your career planning

How to avoid counteroffer shame

Counteroffers are a common occurrence in the job market for mid career professionals in Thailand. Adbardin Chonwattana, Chonburi Branch Manager, en world Thailand shares a story of a counteroffer gone wrong… and how it could have been avoided.


A growing career in a stable environment

A few months ago I was approached by my friend, Paul, who had just received a counteroffer. He was very successful as a Sales Manager at a multinational manufacturing company. He had grown his career there over the last 8 years. He was happy with his role, team, and he relationship with his manager.
Well, he was…until he was approached by another recruiter with an offer for a similar job with a competitor. The salary was 30% higher than he was currently earning.

30% pay rise? What have I got to lose?

Paul was naturally drawn to the money and decided to go to an interview. “What do I have to lose?” he thought.
Paul is a talented guy with a great work ethic so, of course, he was successful. He received the formal offer from the competitor and went with some trepidation to his boss’s office to hand in his notice.

“Really, Paul? We thought you were doing so well and building a great career with us. Is there anything we can do to get you to stay?” asked his manager. “You mentioned it is more money. How much? Maybe we can make this work?”

Should I stay or should I go?

Sure enough, my friend received a counter offer that almost matched the competitor’s salary. “Kong, what should I do? I really like my current company and now the money is on par, I feel like I want to stay.”

I advised him that if he did take the counteroffer he would need to stay for at least 3 years with the company. Accepting a counteroffer is a significant sign of commitment and my friend needed to make sure he acts with integrity over the long term.

Well, Paul took the counteroffer and continued with his existing company.

A happy ending?…not quite

Last week, Paul called me again.
“Kong, I feel awful. Ever since I took the counteroffer I feel so guilty. It’s like is has changed our relationship for ever. I feel really ashamed all the time, like my manager thinks I have no loyalty anymore. I really like working here but now I feel like I’ve broken some kind of trust. I think it might be time to move on as my manager probably thinks I am going to leave anyway!”

Take a proactive approach to gathering market information

Adbardin Chonwattana en world Chonburi I only wish that my friend had approached me when he first thought about going to the interview. I advise every professional to meet regularly with a recruiter to find out about market rates for their industry, experience and role. If Paul had done this he could have approached his manager more proactively about the value he was bringing to the company and how current rates were out of sync with the market.

By taking a more proactive approach to the situation, he could have reached an agreement where he felt fairly compensated and his manager felt like he had handled the situation well.

Unfortunately, I see this type of “counteroffer shame” in many candidates. People accept counteroffers who haven’t really thought about why they went to an interview apart from “get more money”. I hope that by providing updated market information, en world can help people carefully plan for their long term career success.

Differentiate yourself from job hoppers

The job market in the Eastern Seaboard is very aggressive with a lot of salaries being hiked up. With so many job-hoppers around, you can really make differentiate yourself by taking a thoughtful approach to how you plan your career. It is difficult to ignore the lure of a big salary hike. You need to think about what you are giving up in terms of stability, career development and your own values if you go down that path.

Adbardin Chonwattana, Chonburi Branch Manager, en world Thailand spoke with Jennifer Shinkai, APAC Marketing Communications Manager.
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