- More than three-quarters of senior managers in a new Robert Half survey said their companies offer year-end bonuses, and of this number, 48% said those bonuses will increase this year. The same number said bonuses would remain unchanged; 4% plan to give smaller bonuses.
- In a separate poll, workers described how they plan to use their bonuses. Slightly more than half said they plan to put their end-of-year windfall in long-term savings, 47% will use it for vacation, and 46% will use it to buy holiday gits or pay down debt.
- "While many organizations are upping the ante on benefits and perks to recruit and retain top talent, money still talks, especially if employers haven't been able to offer salary raises," Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half, said in a media release. "Giving cash rewards is one way that companies can recognize staff for their hard work over the past year and keep them motivated and loyal for months to come."
U.S. employers have been reluctant to give sizable wage increases, opting instead to offer one-time bonuses. In fact, in a 2019-2020 August report from Willis Towers Watson (WTW) and global insurance broker Gallagher, many companies said they intend to keep wage increases at or below 3%, planning to give workers bonuses, personalized benefits and other variable compensation.
But despite employers' plans to hold down wage increases, surveys show that workers are still expecting bigger salaries now and into 2020 — not just one-time bonuses. For example, a new Worker Confidence Index from Yoh showed that confidence is at a record high among workers, and many are optimistic about getting a promotion or a raise.
Struggling to compete for talent in an era of record-low low unemployment, employers with large workforces of hourly employees are offering incentives, like bonuses, flexible work hours and benefits, to attract applicants and lower turnover. Fast-casual chain Chipotle, for instance, introduced a plan earlier this year that allows hourly employees to earn up to an extra week's pay every quarter through a performance-based bonus plan.