Are sign-on bonuses for new employees here to stay

Sign-on bonuses may be a short-term evil worth using to fill vacant positions, but they could be here well into 2022. According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, there are over 1.5 million vacant positions in the UK. But employers are struggling to fill them, leading to staff shortages across the UK.

The reasons for this are many. Many employees are reluctant to re-enter the jobs market, especially in face-to-face industries, even as we look to a post-pandemic future. Those that have found work during the pandemic are also understandably reluctant to take a chance on a job change, mainly if their current working situation is stable and secure and they’ve found a comfortable remote working setup.

Impact of a smaller candidate pool in 2021

Brexit has also impacted available staff, with many European workers returning home to their native countries, which has, in turn, disrupted the supply chain, as customs and staff shortages combine for a perfect storm

Covid has also impacted the candidate pool with some reluctant to return to the workplace. Those suffering long covid are putting health before work, while a large proportion have found an improved work life balance while working from home. Lastly there are those that despite vaccinations, with underlying health conditions that were managable before 2020, cannot take the risk of being amongst others.

Sign-on bonuses

In this context, many employers are turning to lucrative offers to attract employees, particularly through the means of sign-on bonuses. Tesco offers £1000 to HGV drivers, whilst Amazon also provides the same amount for new workers. Some employers are offering as much as £10,000 for incoming employees.

As a way of attracting employees, a ‘golden hello’ is a tried-and-tested method, but of course, there are broader fears about how sustainable this is in the long term. For job seekers who are set on a remote or from-home working, in industries that don’t require face-to-face contact, sign-on bonuses won’t do much. And whilst these shortages are likely to last until 2022, they will likely subside eventually.

Sign-on bonuses might attract more candidates, but they won’t necessarily attract better candidates. Finding better candidates ultimately falls on the recruiter to dig deep into their personal skills to source the right talent. Accurate job descriptions, using appropriate keywords that are both SEO-ready and industry-focused, are a vital driver. So is clarity and transparency around salary, benefits and those very same sign-on bonuses (promising a sign-on reward only to reveal later it’s riddled with conditionals and exceptions is a surefire route to early disappointment). The phrase ‘competitive salary’ is also a turn-off for candidates — because competitive for you might not be competitive for them!

Improving your swiftness of hire is also a great way of proving to clients that they can rely on you in a pinch, but so is utilising your pool of ‘passive’ candidates. You may have a collection of CVs and candidates who aren’t currently active within your database — but would certainly be interested in hearing about the right offer.

Skills gaps and large-scale vacancies may be a headache for businesses and recruiters — but for those willing to take a chance, they’re also a great opportunity. Reverse Delta and our bespoke recruitment website platform FXRecruiter are on hand to help you grow. Call us on 08000 199737 or click here.