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Many professionals expect bonuses, but not fairness

Nova Safo Dec 25, 2019
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A survey found 88% of professionals expect bonuses this year. George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images

Many professionals expect bonuses, but not fairness

Nova Safo Dec 25, 2019
A survey found 88% of professionals expect bonuses this year. George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images
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With your holiday shopping possibly done by now, you may be looking at your credit card bill with some alarm. For many workers, end-of-year bonuses may help. A new survey finds a vast majority of working professionals expect to get one.

Each year, organizational consulting firm Korn Ferry asks professionals in management-level positions about their year-end bonus expectations. And this year, like last, they’re optimistic. 

“When earnings are good, companies are more inclined to pay bonuses than when they’re not good,” said Don Lowman, a senior partner at Korn Ferry.

Earnings have been good, with more than 70% of S&P 500 companies beating expectations last quarter. 

“There’s general optimism that the improved results for organizations will translate to slightly improved results for bonuses,” Lowman said.

Eighty-eight percent of professionals surveyed expect to get a bonus this year, which is a way to reward employees without permanently increasing salaries, Lowman said.

But John Boudreau, a professor and research director at USC’s Marshall School of Business, pointed to another statistic in the survey. Only 59% of respondents said bonuses are handed out fairly.

“Which suggests something about the way it’s being allocated that is causing people to think about fairness,” Boudreau said, adding executives could take another look at how they’re giving out bonuses.

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