Worker Referral Bonuses Still Common

April 16, 2002 ( - Companies haven't eliminated cash bonuses to employees for helping recruit new talent, results of a survey reveal.

The March 2002 WorldatWork survey found that six out of ten responding companies have kept their referral bonus programs despite the slow economy. Another 14% who don’t now have a referral program said they are thinking about unveiling one.

Large-scale bonuses were primarily restricted to executive or management ranks with 10% awarding more than $5,000 for manager referrals and 7% with awards in that category for upper-level managers.

The most common bonus amount was $1,000 to $2,499 with referrals for the following job types in this bonus amount category:

  • Executive, 37%
  • Upper Management, 42%
  • Middle Management, 43%
  • Supervisors, 40%
  • Professional Staff, 42%
  • Sales, 38%
  • IT Staff, 41%
  • Technical Staff, 40%
  • Clerical Staff, 29%

The largest group of responding companies reported awarding $1,000 to $4,999 for referring someone who is hired. For referring executives to the company, 10% of respondents indicated the bonus is typically over $5,000.

According to the WorldatWork respondents, 42% say workers who refer someone have to wait 90 days to get their money.

In the case of one in five companies, however, the referring worker gets cash the moment the new recruit is hired. Some 41% pay part of the bonus immediately and the rest after the new employee has been on board for a specified period of time.