Employee sign-on bonuses? Do new hires expect one as norm?


I read an article that Facebook gives some newly graduated engineers a $100K sign on bonus! Are sign-on bonuses, not necessarily the crazy amount FB offers, becoming the norm to hire skilled engineering talent?


asked Feb 18 '14 at 18:31
16 points

1 Answer


I would say No, but this probably varies widely by market. In Charlotte, you certainly don't need sign on bonuses. That doesn't mean that some companies don't offer them, but to get the right kind of candidates for startups or earl stage companies, it's more about the company's vision, the work culture, benefits (i.e. working remotely, etc.) and the people.

When you find a needle in the haystack (i.e. a talented developer that is below market rate) we would use a retainment bonus model where we would bonus them at six or twelve months to bring them back into alignment with market rates. This prevents your needle in the haystack from working for a year and then discovering they are below market rate and jumping ship when the other offers start coming in.

People are loyal, but an offer that is significantly above where they are currently being paid can be very tempting to young engineers.

Charlotte has an interesting dynamic in that when the banks aren't laying off thousands of workers, they are hiring java developers by the boat loads and paying exorbitant amounts -- recruiters will actually call your company directly trying to get a hold of your technical folks in some cases. Your retainment bonus (and of course your culture and everything mentioned above) in this example can help prevent them from cherry picking your resources.

answered Mar 10 '14 at 16:20
337 points

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