News update – Bus firm incentive helps joiners stay on

First Group has improved its rate of recruitment since introducing a loyalty bonus of 50p an hour for new bus drivers. Staff can only access the money, which is notionally paid into their credit union account, once they have been with the company for a year.

Michael Milne, finance director for the bus and train operator in Glasgow, said: “Our rate of recruitment has improved [over the past three months], we have increased our number of drivers.

“The pool of available people in the market who perhaps haven’t tried bus driving is falling. High employment levels means it is increasingly difficult to attract people into jobs. The idea behind the scheme for our ‘new-start drivers’ is to address a national shortage of bus drivers.” He added that staff were most likely to leave the company during their first year on the job, which the scheme was also intended to address.

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“By paying in the loyalty bonus, we are encouraging staff to stay with us for at least a year. It’s mutually beneficial as it forces them to save and ties them into giving [the job] a good try.” Employees typically work 45 hours a week for 48 weeks a year so could expect to receive over £1,000 before tax.

At the end of their first year of employment, staff will receive the extra cash as pay. Milne added that this is intended to encourage employees to save because the extra amount could then be put into a savings account.