Golden hellos: Businesses increasingly offering signing bonuses to tackle labour shortages

The hospitality industry has been hit hard by the labour shortages Credit: PA

With labour shortages causing chaos for businesses across the country many are being forced into thinking of inventive ways to lure workers to their businesses.

Rocketing demand for workers saw 193,000 new job adverts posted in the week to August 29 alone, according to the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).

Firms are going above and beyond to get staff, with some raising wages, others calling for a relaxation of immigration rules and others offering large 'golden hellos' signing bonuses often worth thousands of pounds.The CBI said staff shortages are continuing to disrupt firms as they battle to recover from the impact of the pandemic and predicted the issues could last for as long as two years.

They said they had heard from companies actively cutting capacity because they can’t meet demand.

They added: "Some restaurant owners have had to choose between lunchtime and evening services when trying to make the most of summer.

“It’s also visible to consumers when lead-in times for purchases like kitchens or furniture double."

The shortage of lorry drivers has caused problems in industries up and down the country.

In the past week Ikea, Coca Cola, Weatherspoons, Nandos, Costa and more have all faced issues with getting their stock to customers because of supply chain issues.

So what industries have resorted to offering 'golden hellos' to attract people to their businesses?


Nowhere has been hit harder by the labour shortage than the haulage industry.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) believes their is a shortage of around 100,000 drivers in the UK.

The lorry driver shortage has seen big firms such as Tesco and Asda offering £1,000 starting bonuses for new recruits while numerous firms have hiked pay.

The lack of haulage drivers has caused supply issues for supermarkets across the country. Credit: PA

Scottish wholesaler firm CJ Land recently offered a £2,000 signing bonus to any HGV driver who would join their firm.

Other firms have called on the government to relax immigration rules to make it easier to recruit staff from abroad.

James Wroath, the chief executive of Wincanton, suggested a temporary change of rules about hiring European drivers to help the industry deal with the current shortage.


With the lockdowns now behind us, several hospitality businesses have found they aren't able to find staff like they could before the pandemic.

Steak chain Hawksmoor, which has eight restaurants in the UK offered employees over the summer up to £2,000 if they recruit friends to work with them.

Caravan, a London restaurant chain also offered customers £100 gift cards if they could recommend staff to join their firm.

There are around 100,00 lorry driver vacancies in the UK. Credit: PA

One of the biggest hospitality firms to speak publically about staff shortages is Wagamama.

The group’s recently appointed chief executive Thomas Heier said he was struggling to fill chef vacancies in around 30 sites.He attributed the lack of staff to Brexit impacting the number of European workers looking for jobs in the UK.

Waste management

Waste management firm Veolia - which runs bin collections for many councils across the UK - recently attempted to lure HGV drivers away from their long haulage jobs to their bin lorries.

In Buckinghamshire, they recently offered £1,500 to HGV drivers to get them to join bin collection rounds.


Numerous healthcare companies have also begun offering signing fees as demands for nurses and particularly mental health specialists soars.

Elysium Healthcare currently has a job vacancy for a mental health nurse that comes with a £5,000 "welcome bonus" and a £6,000 "relocation package."

Care home operate HC One recently offered a £10,000 signing bonus for two night nurses.

The Priory Group also recently offered a £5,000 signing bonus for mental health nurses.


US giant Amazon has also been hit by labour shortages.

They recently posted job adverts for "urgently needed" warehouse staff in Doncaster and offered up to £1,500 as a starting bonus if they started before September 18.

The role also offered up to £20.80 per hour for overtime work.