Business / Industries

Employees seek new pastures as bonuses decline

By ZHENG JINRAN/SHI JING (China Daily) Updated: 2015-01-22 08:08

Many white-collar workers are unhappy with their annual bonuses, and some said their dissatisfaction over the issue will force them to seek new jobs, according to a survey.

Only 40 percent of employees are expected to receive a bonus for their work performance in 2014, the report by online recruiter Zhaopin Ltd said. Sixteen percent have already received a bonus.

A second study has found that employers on the Chinese mainland are willing to offer the most generous salary increases this year compared with those in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan.

The 10,151 respondents who took part in the annual bonus survey were asked to rate their level of satisfaction with their payments on a scale of five, with zero representing complete dissatisfaction and five indicating complete satisfaction. The average result was 2.23.

"Widespread dissatisfaction over bonuses has been at a high level for years," said Zhu Hongyan, a career consultant at the company and a member of the team that conducted the survey.

The gap between the cities that offer the highest and lowest bonuses increased last year. Beijing was the most generous, with an average bonus of 19,280 yuan ($3,100), while Taiyuan in Shanxi province was the least generous with an average of 1,350 yuan.

The level of bonuses varied widely across different industries. The average paid in the energy, mining and environmental protection sectors in 2014 was the highest at 24,000 yuan, while the average for the services sector was the lowest at 7,000 yuan.

Zhu said the number of people seeking new jobs started to rise last month, well ahead of the traditional job-hopping peak that usually occurs after the Spring Festival holiday.

"This demonstrates the frustration employees feel about their low annual bonuses," she said.

The survey supported this view, as 40 percent of respondents said they plan to switch jobs.

Zhang Yiqun, a 30-year-old who works in Beijing, expects to receive a bonus of around 10,000 yuan. He said he feels this is too low, and has started to look for a new position.

"The salary including the bonus will be a major attraction as I seek a new job," he said.

A report released last month by the United States-based professional networking company LinkedIn Corp said Chinese employees on average remain in a job for 34 months before moving to a new position. This is much shorter than the 56-month average for workers in the US.

The second survey, by Hays Asia Salary Guide, sought the views of 2,361 employers representing more than 4 million employees on the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan. It found that employers on the Chinese mainland are willing to offer higher salary increases this year than those elsewhere.

Half of the mainland employers plan to increase salaries by between 6 and 10 percent, and a further 20 percent intend to increase them by more than 10 percent. The figures are significantly higher than those for Hong Kong and the other regions.

Christine Wright, managing director of Hays in Asia, said: "Interestingly, employers are also offering extra benefits to help secure their preferred candidate. Performance-related bonuses are also used to reward top performers.

"Popular benefits in China include health products, life assurance and a car or a car allowance."

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