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Attract new college grads with signing bonuses

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If you’re planning to offer jobs to new college graduates this summer, you’ll be competing with a growing number of organizations that pay signing bonuses.

Nearly 54% of the employers responding to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Job Outlook 2008 survey said they will use signing bonuses to sweeten the deal for potential hires, and that could be a conservative estimate. Last year, 47% of organizations said they would offer bonuses, but 54% ultimately did.

If that pattern holds, more than 60% of employers could use signing bonuses to attract and hire 2008 graduates.

How much should you offer? The average signing bonus is $4,450—up 25% from last year’s average of $3,568.

Tip: Don’t offer signing bonuses to every job applicant. About two-thirds of organizations reserve them for select candidates, including those with advanced degrees or bachelor’s degrees in fields with a shortage of qualified professionals.

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