Healthcare and nursing lead in sign-on bonuses, research finds

Healthcare leads the job market with nearly 1 in 5 jobs advertising sign-on bonuses at an average of $10,867 each, according to research from the job search engine, Adzuna.

In December, the company analyzed more than 8 million jobs that were posted on its website and narrowed the focus down to 428,908 that mentioned a welcome or sign-on bonus. 

Specifically, out of 1.65 million job advertisements within the healthcare and nursing sector, 295,992 or 17.9% included a welcome bonus or sign-on bonus.

While the healthcare sector had the most job listings that mention a sign-on bonus, it was third overall for the average amount of the bonuses behind accounting and finance and IT. 

"[T]his signifies a robust demand for qualified professionals in this sector, highlighting the critical need for talent in public health," Adzuna wrote of its data. 

As the healthcare workforce continues to face staffing retention and recruitment issues, sign-on bonuses have been touted as a possible solution, and outcomes for some systems have already proven themselves. 

Escondido, Calif.-based Palomar Health offered nurses $100,000 sign-on bonuses in March 2023 that would be paid out over the course of three years to also boost retention. One of the leaders behind the program, told Becker's in a recent interview that since last year, the effort has been "incredible in reducing reliance on travelers and agency staffing." 

Earlier in January, Cincinnati-based Mercy Health announced significant bonuses for its nurses ranging from $20,000-$30,000. 

But Sayre, Pa.-based Guthrie Clinic is the latest system to announce even larger sign-on bonuses of $50,000 for nurses as part of a major recruitment campaign at the system's recently acquired Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, N.Y., the system shared Jan. 25.  

The $50,000 bonuses will be available to newer nurses who have some experience and work as full-time direct care RNs in special areas of the Lourdes Hospital, but the extra high bonuses will only be offered for the next 90 days. 

The system will also continue to offer bonuses of $25,000 for nurses in other areas.

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