Gold Handcuffs

New perks keep workers loyal

Even for the cash-flush oil industry, employees of Mitchell Energy & Development Co. near Houston enjoy some unusually lucrative benefits. Mitchell will finance homes for new workers through its own mortgage company at subsidized rates for up to six years. Executives marked for promotion can receive stock options worth as much as $500,000—without investing a penny of their own—that are fully redeemed by the company in six years. Some top employees may also receive shares in a company-sponsored oil-well-drilling program. In fact, working at Mitchell has become so...

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