Advice from an Actuarial Recruiter: The Pitfalls of Accepting a Counteroffer

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In this market, we find that companies will often try to keep their talent when faced with an employee leaving – especially if they know their employee is an excellent Actuary or has a specific set of skills that would be hard to replace. As tempting as it can be to accept the counteroffer and stay with your current employer, now is the time to consider your reasons for wanting to make a change.

As recruiters, we understand there are many reasons and motivations as to why you would consider making a career move:

• Feeling underpaid or not being recognized for your work

• Limited advancement opportunities

• Long commute

• Dissatisfaction once returning to the office after working from home

• Looking for new challenges

• Difficulties with coworkers/boss/senior leadership

• Extended hours, making work/life balance difficult

There are some factors to consider before accepting a counteroffer. Unfortunately, this includes the damage that accepting a counteroffer could do to your relationship with your current employer. They now know that you’re unhappy and planning to leave. Though they have extended a counteroffer, the fact that you have looked outside the company for new opportunities could raise red flags in their minds about your loyalty and your future at the company. They might view you as a potential flight risk now that you’ve proven you will look externally for better offers.

It’s also important to recognize that it took a new opportunity and the threat of your departure for your current employer to acknowledge your value. The appreciation that you feel now could quickly return to the status quo once they are no longer worried about replacing you. However, an outside company recognized your worth and is ready to pay you what you merit. If you want to see where you land on the Actuarial Salary Survey, click here:

Another critical idea to remember: It’s unlikely that a coworker whom you don’t see eye-to-eye with will change. You’ll still be dealing with those personalities that caused you to look outside your company for a new position. The pay increase will not likely compensate for the anxiety caused by an uncomfortable work environment.

Take some time to also consider the future growth of your career and compare the two opportunities. Where could you be in 2 years if you take the new position? Where will you most likely be if you stay with your current company? The pay raise or promotion they have offered in order to keep you at your current company could result in a stagnant salary in the next few years. If you’ve been passed over for a promotion or weren’t given opportunities to advance until now, you can most likely take this as a signal that it’s best for you to move on.

On that note, now that you’re at the offer stage with the new company, you’ve likely gone through multiple interviews and your future employer has chosen you among all the other candidates. Accepting the counteroffer means you’ll have to let the new company know that you won’t be taking the position. This could negatively affect your reputation with this company and you run the risk of burning a bridge that could help you in the future.

Finally, ask yourself: Will your problem or concern disappear if you accept the counteroffer? The answer is likely no. We often see candidates accept a counteroffer, only to return to the job market in search of a new opportunity within a matter of months because the original issues still exist. While a counteroffer is flattering and there are many reasons your current employer would want to keep you, accepting a counteroffer is often only a short-term band-aid and is rarely in your best interest. All the reasons you had to look for a new job still exist, and it is not likely that more money from your current employer will fix those concerns.

As recruiters, we understand that it often feels easier and less disruptive to stay where you are and get a bit more money. Change is almost always difficult; however, any difficulty or disruption is temporary. Real growth happens when you step outside of your comfort zone. We see the career benefits of Actuaries taking the leap and experiencing different environments all the time: new levels of motivation, excitement at the potential for growth, and the reward of being recognized for doing a great job in their new position.

Whichever route you decide to take, it is crucial to remain professional throughout the process with both your current and potential employer. The Actuarial world is small in size; therefore you never know what the future holds and whom you may cross paths with again. DW Simpson can help you on your career path and guide you through the process to a new job that is the best fit for you. You can get in touch with your dedicated recruiter at


By Derek Mulder – Partner and Lead Recruiter at DW Simpson