Wanted: Year-end bonuses

Most Canadian workers will 'seriously contemplate' quitting if they don't get a bonus: survey

Wanted: Year-end bonuses

The festivities of the holiday season are over, but workers are still waiting for their employers to grant monetary rewards for the year that was.

Not obliging could be disastrous for employers, as 71% of employees say they will “seriously contemplate” leaving their current job if they miss out on a year-end bonus this January, reports Robert Walters.

And nearly half (44%) of professionals are expecting a bonus between 10% and 30% of their pay at the end of this month.

“A year-end bonus remains a crucial retention tool, influencing almost 4 in 5 employees' career plans,” said Martin Fox, managing director of Robert Walters Canada. “It serves as recognition and reward for employees’ dedication and contributions, showcasing a sense of appreciation. It also helps with motivation for the following year – when people feel appreciated, they are more committed to continuing the hard work to reap the benefits in the years to come.”

About 19.5 million Canadians are currently facing financial vulnerability, according to a previous report from the Financial Resilience Institute.

Budgets for year-end bonuses

Most employers recognize the value of year-end bonuses, with 72% saying it is crucial for retaining their best employees, finds Robert Walters’ survey of over 2,500 employers and employees across white-collar professions in Canada in December 2023.

However, just 47% of companies have allocated budgets for year-end bonuses. And over half of employees (56%) of workers have resigned themselves to not expecting a bonus for work that they did in 2023.

“Understandably many companies have had to reduce costs in what has been a turbulent economy, however companies should take an important note that it costs around 6-9 months of an employee’s salary to replace them when they are gone. So, when you put it like that – a bonus is a much smaller cost than said employee leaving,” said Fox.

He added: “It is still a talent-short market, so attracting and retaining the best people is without a doubt a challenge we will continue to see in the new year”

One in five (20%) Canadian employers have had new talent slip through their fingers in the last six months, because they “can’t compete on salary and benefits”, according to a report released in November 2023.

Employee priorities in 2024

When it comes to other employee priorities in 2024, competitive salary remains at the top (38%), according to Robert Walters. 

Flexible work arrangements (26%), positive work-life balance (25%) and good development opportunities (11%) are all trailing behind on the list.

“We’re back to the 2019 time … and that’s kind of like the normal market,” Fox said in a Financial Post article. “Base salary plus any variable compensation is No.1.”

“81% of professionals have reported that they will be looking at job alternatives in the new year, so it’s vital to ensure you’re doing what you can to maintain an attractive and competitive employee offering,” he said in a media release.

More than half of professionals (52%) have discussed salaries with colleagues, according to a previous report from Robert Half.

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