Return of bonuses as firms seek to lure top employees
BONUSES are now being offered by a quarter of all employers for new positions, compared with almost zero last year -- making 2012 the year that the bonus payment returned to Irish business.
Since the start of this year, it is believed candidates are getting additional payments of up to €10,000 per year in order to attract them to firms initially and also to keep them loyal.
Recruitment firm Brightwater said increasing confidence in the Irish business sector along with a new competition for sought-after staff meant additional "lump-sum employment incentives" of between 10pc and 20pc of basic salary were being offered for the first time since 2007.
"From 2008 right up until last year, bonuses had completely disappeared. Employees just didn't get them, no matter how well they performed, largely because the company was in such a poor financial position that it just couldn't afford or justify such payments," said Brightwater managing director Mairead Fleming.
"What we're now seeing is that certain sectors are growing again -- in particular financial services, professional services and IT -- and they are now starting to compete for desirable candidates," she added.
The nature of the bonus has changed since the boom, however, with the awards more closely tied to performance than during the Celtic Tiger years.
According to CPL Recruitment director Peter Cosgrove, bonuses are being paid in around 30pc of cases. That jumps to 40pc in technology, finance and sales.
"Bonuses are now being used as a mechanism to generate performance or sales, and are no longer guaranteed. Targets genuinely have to be met so it's not surprising that we're seeing the highest bonuses in sales, which generate direct income for a company -- in this sector a bonus can be as high as 100pc [of salary]," he claimed.
Ms Fleming said bonuses were most common for contract workers to ensure that they didn't leave for greener fields mid-contract.
Not all sectors have improved enough to offer bonuses or even to recruit new employees, though. "Plenty of areas are still suffering badly and struggling, most notably small and medium enterprises and manufacturing," said Ms Fleming.