I'm asking this question hoping that you would shed some light.

I've been working for this company for several years. Two months ago we had the salary review, which was unsatisfactory for me. The previous year I had also been upset after the salary review, thus this time I asked my employer for feedback on what to improve to earn better. His answer was mostly that I was paid at the market value.

I've decided to answer messages from recruiters to find out if my employer was correct about me being paid fairly. Now, only a few months after that conversation, and after several rounds of interviews with another company, I have been offered a position (very similar to my current position) for 22% increase than may current salary and a substantial bonus increase too.

I informed my current employer about this offer; he asked me if I'd consider a counter offer as I know everything so well and they'd love to keep me. I said I would. Two days later he asked me to come to his office. He told me he and his seniors reviewed this and there is nothing additional that they can offer me on top of what I now earn. No offer has been made. This leaves me disheartened.

Why did he not make me a counter offer after he said he would? I will accept the new offer but I've given so much to this company, much more than my job requirements, I've always gone above and beyond. I wish I could understand why my employer did not make me a counter offer, especially after he said he would.

  • 3
    The flip side is that taking a counter offer is very risky. In many cases your old employer is only making it to avoid having a gap in staffing while they covertly find a replacement for you and you'll be let go in a few months time. Commented Apr 23 at 21:02
  • @DanIsFiddlingByFirelight Thank you for your reply. Where I live employers canot fire employees unless something very bad happened, and that would be after months of HR investigation. But it is a very valid point, that they may counter out of desperation and staffing issues but not truly be invested in that employee anymore.
    – Ella
    Commented Apr 23 at 21:06
  • 1
    I voted to close this question because we can not read the mind of your employer.
    – Philipp
    Commented Apr 24 at 12:52

2 Answers 2


He told me he and his seniors reviewed this and there is nothing additional that they can offer me on top of what I now earn. No offer has been made. This leaves me disheartened.

Why did he not make me a counter offer after he said he would?

He already told you why. The unstated part of that is likely:

  • you indicated that you will get 22% more and they don't feel that you are worth 22% more to your current company
  • they suspect that you would leave soon anyway, even if they gave you 22%

And of course, he didn't say he would make a counter offer. He "asked if you would consider a counter offer" and he said "they'd love to keep you". Nowhere in there is a promise of a counter offer.

It's possible that your boss would love to keep you. And it's possible he would like to give you a counter offer, but the other senior managers talked him out of it. It's more likely they just decided that your role (and perhaps you specifically in it) wasn't worth an additional 22%.

There's no reason to be disheartened. It's just business. Put it behind you and move on.

For what it's worth, I almost never made a counter offer to an employee who told me they got a better offer elsewhere. People leave their jobs all the time. It's seldom just money - it's virtually always a variety of reasons. And solving just the money reason usually only keeps them around for a short time. Pretty much anyone can always leave for a bit more. If they tell me they got a lot more, I congratulate them, wish them well, and promise to give them a good reference whenever they need one.

  • 22% salary increase is not quite big enough jump for most people to be leaving jobs that they love, so the leave reason is already stated between the lines.
    – Nelson
    Commented Apr 24 at 2:05
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    Thanks for your input, Nelson. For me in this instance 22% is a big jump, i.e. just this rise covers two thirds of my mortgage repayment. I love my current job and the reason I'm leaving is primarily money.
    – Ella
    Commented Apr 24 at 9:47
  • Great answer, Joe. Thank you very much for taking the time to write this very good and highly possible explanation.
    – Ella
    Commented Apr 24 at 9:48
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    @Nelson, a 22% increase (especially if we mean net rather than gross pay) is typically enough for all but the wealthiest employees to jump, assuming the recruiting employer is equivalent in all other respects.
    – Steve
    Commented Apr 24 at 12:41

The company has decided how much they are willing to pay someone in your role, and they aren't willing to pay 22% more. They would rather lose you and recruit somebody new on a lower salary. The decision will have been made by someone more senior than your boss.


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