A pile of money, possibly to be used when making a counter offer

Come back, Sue!

Woe! The middle classes woke up to some desperate news this morning: The Great British Bake Off is migrating to Channel 4. There hasn’t been a disaster of this magnitude since Whittards went into temporary administration in 2008.

Personally, I don’t see what the problem is. I enjoy watching tent-based cooking shows as much as the next man, and I can easily handle seeing this one broadcast on a different channel, presumably in exactly the same format but with the bonus of regular advertising breaks to dilute the high tension.

But my wife is distraught, as are all of her Facebook friends. I believe there is even a petition to get the BBC to keep the show.

Counter offer?

There are parallels here with the situation that occurs when a key employee hands in their notice. The unlucky boss (or viewing public) will go through a number of distinct reaction stages before finally accepting that the move is going to happen.  For illustration I’ve used the considered points of view of various commentators on today’s Daily Mail article on this subject (here).

The stages are as follows:


This stage is usually very short, but it happens. The boss is shocked, and can’t believe the bad news. “How could you even consider leaving after all we have done for you?” etc.

Or in the words of Hayley, UK:

“How can the bbc not afford it? I really don’t understand that. I can’t afford a tv license but still manage to pay it.”

Panic / Anger

This is a necessary step in of the healing process, when faced with a loss of this significance. In the case of a valued employee, the boss may well be thinking or saying the following: “We can’t cope! What are we going to do without your knowledge / experience / contacts?”

The BBC themselves made this cautious statement:

“We hope Love Productions change their mind so that Bake Off can stay ad free on BBC One.”

Cherrychapstick76, from Dublin, was less restrained:

“Oh ffs!!! A 3hr show, with 100 ad breaks and mccains oven chips strategically placed”

And Sammot, from Rugeley, attempts to mask his fury with humour:

“What’s the world coming too. It makes my home made jam boil.”


The boss has a great idea: to throw money at the problem. This is where the counter offer is presented. And other promises might also be made, to do with working hours, promotions, training, etc. In other words: “Please reconsider! What if we gave you more money?”

But it’s usually too little, too late.

The reaction of kit, from York, is typical:

“BBc and production company you really REALLY need to rethink this. It must make millions for the BBC in spin off books etc etc. This show is just right for the BBC – it has that gorgeous British feel to it and really does need to remain ad free and with the BBC.”

And Tabitha123, from Dumfries, feels the same:

“Noooooooo ITV will ruin the Bake Off with all it’s adverts etc. The show will lose it’s lovely cosy feel as they try to ‘sex it up’ and make it more like X Factor. Can the production company please reconsider. B B C you bunch of tightwads!!”


So it looks like the counter offer might not work, and your star employee really is on their way out of the door.

This unhappy situation is illustrated by the pithy words of Lablover73, from London:

“That’s so depressing. Can’t we keep anything?!”


Finally, the boss concedes that the departure is inevitable. There’s nothing for it now but to start the recruitment process all over again. The following wise contributors also know this.

DonaldTrump, from Tower Hamlets, says:

“Replace Mary Berry with Nadia. It’s high time Mary retired and having a modern woman presenting the show would bring a breath of fresh air.”

Bobhc, from the Western Isles, notes that:

“Channel Four has always shown that it is a channel with big ideas and stands by it decisions. GBBO never need two presenters the stars of the show are the contestant, lets hope C4 sticks to its ideals and gets rid of Perkins, that’s one way of improving the show and saving money”

Finally Dogging__UK, from Public Toilet, United Kingdom, observes:

“Good, get rid of it as there is enough shows on tv that cater for the elderly. Lets get some khadashians or something on the bbc”

Let them go

Basically, once someone gives their notice, the writing is on the wall. The main difference between the resignation of someone in a job and GBBO’s move to Channel 4 is that employees are very rarely motivated solely by money. It’s always a factor, but there are other reasons too. This is why in real life the counter offer hardly ever works in the long term, although it might buy you a few more months.

If you’re in a permanent job but thinking of leaving it, be aware that a counter offer might come your way. Here are five reasons for not accepting a counter offer:

  1.  You have now made your employer aware that you are unhappy. From this day on your commitment will always be in question.
  2. Accepting a counter offer rarely changes the factors that drove you to look for a new job in the first place.
  3. Where is the money for the counter offer coming from? Is it your next pay rise early?
  4. What type of a company do you work for if you have to threaten to resign before they give you what you’re worth? Why didn’t they pay you that before?
  5. Why are they paying it to you now? It’s probably because it’s easier and cheaper for them to keep you for the time being, while they sort the problem out.

Of course, there is always a chance that accepting a counter offer and staying put might actually be your best option, but it’s worth bearing these points in mind, just in case! Our experience is that if you accept a counter offer, there is a ninety percent chance you will be out of the job anyway within six months.

And if you are the boss, you should perhaps use this opportunity to rethink how you motivate and reward your employees. This one got away, but you will have other chances to build a great team.

To conclude, I will hand over to mansehra, from Leeds, who realises that the situation is what it is, and we have no choice but to just get on with it:

“BBC 1 or Channel 4, just push a different button on the remote.”

If you’d like to read more about counter offers, click here.

And remember that the counter offer is just one of the factors that might stop you getting your next job.  Find out what the others are by downloading our report.