Employers Listen Up: 58% of Bonus Eligible Employees Expect to Receive One; More Men Bonus Eligible and Optimistic Bonuses will Materialize than Women

SAUSALITO, Calif. – (December 6, 2011) ­– Employees have a message to employers this holiday season: forget the holiday parties and bring on the cash, according to a recent online survey by Harris Interactive® on behalf of Glassdoor® of 2,574 U.S. adults.

Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of employees1 said that a cash bonus would be among their top choices for employer-gifted holiday perks this year, followed by a salary raise (62 percent), paid time off (32 percent) and grocery gift cards (23 percent). Holiday parties – even with an open bar – are not a very popular perk (4 percent) and fell below the ability to work from home for a year (14 percent), company stock/shares (11 percent), health care subsidy (10 percent) and a gym membership (8 percent). A full breakdown of perk preferences is below.

  • 72% cash bonus
  • 62% salary raise
  • 32% paid time off that doesn’t count against vacation
  • 23% grocery gift card
  • 14% work from home for a year
  • 11% company stock or shares
  • 10% health care subsidy
  • 8% gym membership
  • 4% holiday party with an open bar
  • 3% commuter subsidy
  • 2% gold watch or other accessory
  • 2% other

As cash tops holiday wish lists, it seems employees eligible for a bonus are optimistic they will receive one. Nearly three in four (73 percent) employees report they are eligible for a bonus this year, compared to 63 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 when the market took a dive. Of those eligible for a bonus, 58 percent expect to receive a bonus while 39 percent do not and 12 percent are unsure. Of those who expect to receive a bonus, 20 percent expect it to be more than their last bonus while 13 percent expect it to be less, and 22 percent are unsure.

Notable Gender Variances

Companies may want to take note of variances between men and women in terms of perk preferences and bonus expectations this holiday season.

Holiday Perks: More men (16 percent) said they would be interested in receiving company stock or shares as a holiday perk than women (6 percent), whereas more women (18 percent) said they would prefer the option to work from home for a year than men (11 percent). More women (29 percent) also prefer grocery gift cards over their male counterparts (18 percent).

Bonus Expectations: More men (74 percent) are eligible for bonuses than women (69 percent). Among employees who are eligible to receive a bonus this year, nearly twice as many women (17 percent) report they are unsure of the bonus amount than men (7 percent) whereas more men (30 percent) than women (22 percent) expect their bonus to be the same as last year.

“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, who has run global HR departments at Electronic Arts and PepsiCo before co-authoring Talent Force: A New Manifesto for the Human Side of Business. “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.”

For more information about Glassdoor and to obtain current salary information for specific job titles at nearly 150,000 companies, please visit or the company’s blog

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1) For the purposes of this study “employees” were defined as U.S. adults 18+ employed full time and/or part time unless otherwise indicated.

2) This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Glassdoor from November 3-7, 2011 among 2,574 adults ages 18 and older of whom 1,495 are employed full time, part time and/or are self employed. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact pr[at]

About Glassdoor

Glassdoor is a free and anonymous jobs and career community offering an inside look at companies and access to millions of job listings. Glassdoor helps employees, job seekers, employers and recruiters find and share detailed information about nearly 150,000 companies, such as FacebookAccentureAT&TOracleStarbucks and UPS.  This proprietary user-generated content includes salary data, company reviewsinterview questions and reviews, office photos and CEO approval ratings. Glassdoor was founded in 2007 and launched its website in 2008. Headquartered in Sausalito, Calif. Glassdoor has raised $22.2 million from its founders, Benchmark Capital, Sutter Hill Ventures and Battery Ventures. More information about Glassdoor can be found on its blogFacebook, and on Twitter. is a registered trademark of Glassdoor, Inc.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit