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Bonus Cuts: 71% of Employees Threaten to Quit

  • Nearly 4 in 5 employees will quit their job if they do not receive a year-end bonus.
  • Less than half of employers have budgeted for year-end bonuses.
  • 72% of employers believe year-end bonuses are crucial for retaining their talent.
  • Over half of employees are not expecting a bonus this year.


Three quarters of professionals (71%) have stated that they will ‘seriously contemplate’ leaving their current job if they miss out on a year-end bonus this January.

The findings come from recruitment firm Robert Walters annual Salary Survey, which also found that in spite of employee anticipation for bonuses being high, just 47% of companies have allocated budgets for year-end bonuses. A further 36% of employers decided to skip bonuses altogether in their early 2024 financial plans.

Employee expectations

The importance of year-end bonuses in talent retention is evident, confirmed by a strong 72% of companies who see them as crucial for retaining their best employees. In fact, 44% of professionals are expecting a bonus between 10-30% of their pay at the end of this month.

However, despite bonuses being a standard expectation in most professional compensation packages, over half of employees (56%) have resigned themselves to not expecting a bonus for their hard work in 2023.

These findings follow global recruitment consultancy’s Robert Walters annual Salary Survey Guide 2024 – which tracks salary predictions for the coming year, as well as surveying 4,000 white collar professionals and 2,000 employers to identify upcoming workplace trends.

Adam Woolley, Associate Director Robert Walters New York comments:

“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.

“A year-end bonus remains a crucial retention tool, influencing almost 4 in 5 employees' career plans. 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.

“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.”

Additional employee priorities

The survey unveiled additional employee priorities beyond bonuses. Whilst a competitive salary remains the top priority for 38% of respondents, it was closely followed by:

  • Flexible work arrangements (26%)
  • Positive work-life balance (25%)
  • Good development opportunities (11%)


Adam adds: “2023 was a tricky year to navigate for many organizations, with costs being heavily monitored. A holistic approach to employee strategies, incorporating more than just monetary benefits, is vital in securing and nurturing a strong workforce.”

“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.”


About the Survey: Conducted by Robert Walters in December 2023, the survey polled over 2,500 employers and employees across white-collar professions in the US.

For Media Enquires:

Laura O’Flynn

Marketing Manager

E: laura.oflynn@robertwalters.com

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