Cash, paid time off, grocery gift cards preferred over office parties

Many U.S. employees optimistic about bonus this year: Survey

Nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of employees in the United States said a cash bonus would be among their top choices for employer-gifted holiday perks this year, followed by a salary raise (62 per cent), paid time off (32 per cent) and grocery gift cards (23 per cent), according to Glassdoor, an online jobs and career community.

Holiday parties — even with an open bar — are not a very popular perk (four per cent) and fell below the ability to work from home for one year (14 per cent), company stock or shares (11 per cent), a health-care subsidy (10 per cent) and gym membership (eight per cent). Bottoming out the list was a commuter subsidy (three per cent) and gold watch or other accessory (two per cent).

"Until we see the impacts of the Great Recession further recede, when it comes to what employees want it starts with cash and other financial perks to make sure that ends can be met over the holidays", said Rusty Rueff, Glassdoor career and workplace expert. "It may not be sexy but even a nominal amount, a gas or gift card, or an extra day off that an employee can use at their discretion to compensate for the extra hours they have been putting in will likely go much farther in boosting morale than a holiday party. Now is the time to listen closely to what employees need and respond accordingly."

And employees eligible for a bonus are optimistic they will receive one, found the survey of 2,574 adults (with 1,495 employed). Nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of employees reported they are eligible for a bonus this year, compared to 63 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2008 when the market took a dive. Of those eligible for a bonus, 58 per cent expect to receive a bonus while 39 per cent do not and 12 per cent are unsure.

Of those who expect to receive a bonus, 20 per cent expect it to be more than their last bonus while 13 per cent expect it to be less and 22 per cent are unsure, found Glassdoor.

Gender variances

More men (16 per cent) said they would be interested in receiving company stock or shares as a holiday perk than women (six per cent), whereas more women (18 per cent) said they would prefer the option to work from home for one year than men (11 per cent). More women (29 per cent) also prefer grocery gift cards over their male counterparts (18 per cent).

More men (74 per cent) are eligible for bonuses than women (69 per cent). Among employees who are eligible to receive a bonus this year, nearly twice as many women (17 per cent) reported they are unsure of the bonus amount than men (seven per cent) whereas more men (30 per cent) than women (22 per cent) expect their bonus to be the same as last year.


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