golden hello
n. A cash bonus or other remuneration paid to a new employee as an incentive to join a company.
City merchant banks are having to offer new graduates salaries of 30,000 [pounds] a year, plus golden hellos, as a big increase in demand for the elite pushes up starting rates.
—Lorna Bourke, “Golden hellos for graduates,” The Evening Standard, November 05, 1997
Talented sixth-formers are being offered golden hellos worth thousands of pounds by universities keen to attract high-flyers.
—Judith O'Reilly, “Universities offer golden hellos to woo top students,” The Sunday Times, August 03, 1997
1983 (earliest)
Following the ‘golden handshake’, the ‘golden hello’ is taking root in British industry. Being paid a handsome lump sum before you even start a new job may sound too good to be true. But, last year alone, 50 top directors got such ‘golden hellos’.
—“Golden Hellos from business,” The Observer, May 15, 1983
The phrase golden handshake dates to at least 1960, according to the OED (which is also the source of the earliest citation for golden hello). A thoroughbred horse named Golden Hello was active in the early 1960s (earliest use: April 4, 1961), so it's possible this name is a play on the earlier phrase.
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