Employers Offering $4,000 Signing–on Bonuses, Free Pizza to Attract Workers

Employers in Ohio are offering a range of perks to attract new workers, including $4,000 signing–on bonuses and free pizza as companies are struggling to find enough staff for their needs.

The Columbus Dispatch reported that companies across Ohio are struggling to attract enough workers to their businesses, with "Help Wanted" and "Now Hiring" signs seen throughout the state.

The job openings website, OhioMeansJobs, lists more than 270,000 openings in the state, which is up 70,000 from the figure at the start of 2021. There are over 10,000 ads for retail jobs and at least 12,000 for nurses in Ohio.

In order to fill all the open positions, the Dispatch reported that several companies in the state have started providing perks and higher wages to employees, with the hamburger chain White Castle now offering workers in the state $15.00 an hour, up from $11.50.

White Castle's competitor, Wendy's, is offering employees $100 bonuses for signing on and for referring another staffer, while baby product company Evenflo and the Hard Rock Casino in Cincinnati are also offering signing bonuses of $1,500 and $4,000 respectively.

Money is not the only perk being offered by companies in Ohio to attract new employees, as pizza chain Donatos, based in Columbus, has offered "dinnerviews" to applicants.

The process, which was started in May 2021, gives prospective employees the opportunity of being given a job "on the spot" and promises a free large pizza after the interview, according to a press release provided to Newsweek by the company.

Several more companies in Ohio have either raised their wages or offered perks for new employees in the state, as businesses attempt to get their staff numbers up to levels seen before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S., which caused unemployment to reach new highs.

As part of efforts to help the high numbers of unemployed people in the U.S. following the start of the pandemic, unemployment benefits were raised to $300 more a week for qualifying Americans.

The $300 extra a week is scheduled to expire on June 26 in Ohio and it is expected that the amount of positions to be filled will fall as people will once again seek employment that pays significantly more than government benefits.

George Goldhoff, the president of the Hard Rock Casino, told the Dispatch that "we were in competition with the U.S. government," during the pandemic and explained that "while we could pay more, there wasn't enough of a premium for them (former casino workers) to come back."

The U.S. is still dealing with the pandemic, as the country has only fully vaccinated around 45 percent of its population, with some people still fearful about going back to work while still vulnerable, according to CNBC.

This means that perks might not solve the issue, as William Adams, a senior economist for the PNC Financial Services Group told the Dispatch that "it's going to be a bumpy road to get the economy back to running full throttle."

Ben Ayers, a senior economist at Nationwide Insurance, told the outlet that he thinks that the new perks will lead to higher wages permanently.

"A more permanent wage would probably resonate with most workers," Ayers said. "There is an environment of standing that many of the sectors, the frontline workers, haven't seen as much wage change in recent years."

Newsweek has contacted White Castle, Wendy's, Hard Rock Casino, Evenflo and Donatos for comment.

Ohio companies offering perks to employees
Sign text closeup for help wanted with red-and-white colors by the entrance to a store shop business during coronavirus pandemic. Employers in Ohio are offering a range of perks to attract new workers. iStock / Getty Images Plus/ablokhin Creative