A shortage of software engineers in New Zealand has led to new recruits being offered sign-on bonuses of up to $15,000.
Big money incentives are common overseas, with global tech companies offering up to $250,000, far more than in New Zealand where $10-$15,000 is more common.
"I think whenever there is a shortage you absolutely risk getting into a bidding war," Xero managing director Victoria Crone said.
"So we over the years have relied on a bit of cash in terms of signing on bonuses and then heavily on our culture and global opportunities to bring people in."
That creates problems for smaller technology companies who are trying to get a foothold in a competitive market.
Flossie Concierge has created an app for beauty appointments and is on the hunt for software developers.
"It's difficult for early stage to compete with the more well-funded organisations as it is, they have so many more attractive qualities - stability, they have free fruit, vending machines that give away everything," chief executive Jenene Crossan said.
"If we're at the San Francisco level of $50,000 to $250,000 plus, that's completely and utterly unobtainable for us as an early stage start up."