- Union Pacific is offering current employees and new hires the opportunity to earn up to $20,000 in hiring bonuses for train crew positions at its Denver facility. New hires can expect an average base salary of $60,000 (dependent on hours worked) plus benefits.
- The company said it would pay new hires $4,000 after their second week of training; another $6,000 after completion of six to seven month probationary period; and $10,000 after 18 to 20 months on the job.
- The positions require a valid driver’s license and are open to applicants over 18 years old. Those who do not complete the entire probationary period are expected to return any bonuses they receive.
Union Pacific's announcement is a notable addition to the array of company's offering hiring bonuses to a recruit in a thin labor market. Disney, for example, just announced hiring bonuses of up to $3,000 for seasonal workers in its Florida park. Pressured to compete for scarce talent, leading employers are ramping up incentives even for workers who are traditionally cut out of full-scale employee benefits.
Other companies are increasing their starting wages for hourly workers to keep staffed. And to keep workers ahead of the game (and perhaps prepare them to move on), employers see value in training them for future jobs. Access to development can take the form of a financial benefit as well, either through student loan repayment or through the savings made possible by allowing employees to earn college credits on the job. As the market grows tighter, even for entry-level workers, more creative solutions will be needed to differentiate employers from the competition.