Nearly 54 percent of employers plan on offering signing bonuses to new college graduates whom they want to hire this year, up from 47 percent in 2007, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).
Moreover, NACE studies suggest that employers tend to underestimate their need to use signing bonuses.
"Last year, approximately 47 percent of employers said they planned to offer signing bonuses; ultimately, more than 54 percent used them. Similarly, in NACE's 2006 survey, 44 percent of employers expected to offer bonuses, and 47 percent ended up doing so," says Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director.
If that pattern holds, more than 60 percent of employers could use signing bonuses to attract and hire 2008 graduates.
Among respondents who plan to offer a bonus to all entry-level college hires, the average signing bonus is $4,450, up 25 percent from last year's average of $3,568. However, two-thirds of those using bonuses expect to offer them to just selected candidates, and average bonus offers vary according to a number of factors, including the candidate's degree and degree level, NACE notes.