Eroad, the listed electronic road user charges and transport services company, is offering $10,000 signing bonuses for software engineers. The company said the bonuses will be on offer until May 1 to fill 40 roles it has open currently.
Eroad added 50 staff during 2014, most of those in research and development roles at its Auckland headquarters, as well as additional staff in its Portland, Oregon office. "We were very successful with recruitment last year, through using new channels such as sourcing talent from overseas and our employee referral bonus scheme," said Eroad engineering manager Jarred Clayton.
But this year Clayton said it was having to up the ante as it scaled up internationally because many of the roles it needs to fill are highly specialised and were in global demand. "It's not as aggressive here as in Silicon Valley thank goodness but to find the right talent we're offering a range of incentives including subsidised gym membership, staff bonus schemes, unlimited coffee and free parking," he said.
The only other software company that has gone public on offering signing bonuses has been accounting software provider Xero which offered $10,000 bonuses in 2013 and $15,000 last year. Founder Rod Drury said the campaigns had been successful, particularly in attracting people who were considering a career change but it was not something that was effective long-term. He said what was paid here also pales into comparison to what is on offer in Silicon Valley where signing bonuses are in the $50,000 to $100,000 range and up to $250,000 for key management roles.
Bennett Medary, chairman of industry organisation NZ Tech, said there were a number of high growth listed companies that had gone to market to raise funds recently and who were now cashed up with more money to spend on recruiting staff than other players who were funding growth from revenue could afford to do. "I don't think it is likely to be a permanent feature but represents a strong upsurge in demand. We've got some very good high tech companies in New Zealand and this is one of the ways they can get the talent they need," he said.
Drury said there had been a lot of industry effort in the past few years to addressing the talent shortages and there had been successful recruitment drives offshore, particularly with staff from the UK and Australia.
But Medary said the efforts, while well-meaning, were too fragmented and an industry-wide plan would be more effective than a piecemeal approach. "There have sometimes been less than optimal interventions all over the place from different folks. Fixing the talent shortages will happen but it could happen a lot quicker if we built things around a common plan," he said.