Motor trade employers could receive up to £2,500 if they take on staff who have been out of work for more than six months.
The £500 million package for British businesses was unveiled by Gordon Brown who said payments to recruit and train people were a tried and tested way to prevent unemployment becoming ingrained.
The scheme, which comes into force in April, means Jobcentre advisers can offer up to £1,000 to employers taking on staff. Another £1,500 is available for training.
A Government spokesman said advisers would use their discretion to withhold the subsidy for people who would have been employed anyway.
There will also be safeguards to exclude any companies that sack staff and rehire others in order to benefit from the subsidy.
James Purnell, welfare secretary, said the initiative was designed to ensure a generation is not written off by doing nothing to support the long-term unemployed.
But the motor industry is not keen on employing people who have been out of work, said Guy Liddall, managing director of Motor Trade Selection.
He said: “Some businesses will consider it and get a bit of a payout, but only at a junior level. If employing a sales executive, we wouldn’t go near someone who has been out of a job for six months.”
Liddall said that people at the skilled end of the industry would be paid significantly more than the £2,500 golden hello, making it less of an enticing proposition for employers.
It would also make it more difficult for people who wish to change jobs or who have recently come out of a job, to find employment, he added.
The scheme has been criticised by the British Chambers of Commerce, which questioned if employers would take up the offer when they were struggling to pay existing staff.
Such measures would be more effective when a recovery starts, it added.