(This question is actually for a friend, so I don't know exactly all details).
Background: Full time engineer at a large multi-national company. Making about 85k/year after 3.5 years with company.
New contract: Offered to sign a 3 year contract (no leaving!) that will come with a 25k signing bonus (one time). I imagine if one was to leave, they would have to pay back the bonus.
Anyway, in my opinion, the deal isn't that great. It's 25k for the 3 years, so about 8k/year. Once this gets taxed, you are left maybe with 5k every year. I know there is normal salary increase every year and whatnot, but still. I think I could find a new job (I am a software engineer though) and get that sort of bump in salary pretty easily.
Is there a rule or guidelines or something to determine if a signing bonus for a fixed-term contract is fair? I think my friend should negotiate, but he is hesitating.