Most Chinese employees are expected to receive a year-end bonus, but more companies are holding back on the amount, according to a report released last week by one of the country's leading human resources companies.
The 2018 Corporate Annual Bonus Payment Plan Report, released by CIIC HR Management Consulting, was based on a nationwide survey of 674 enterprises in late November. Two-thirds of them were based in big cities - Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
Ninety-three percent of enterprises responding to the survey said they would give employees year-end bonuses before the Chinese New Year holiday in early February. That was slightly less than the 96 percent who said so last year.
Moreover, the amount of money given as bonuses - previously equivalent to one or two months' salary in most cases - is unlikely to go up for many. This year, 46 percent of the enterprises said they will increase the amount of the bonuses over last year - adding up to 10 percent. But last year, about 57 percent of the enterprises surveyed said they would increase the payouts, the report said.
Roughly 40 percent of enterprises said they would pay the same amount in year-end bonuses as they did the previous year. The remaining 15 percent will cut their year-end bonus budget.
Enterprises saying they would not give employees a year-end bonus said the decision was based on failure to reach annual performance targets, and some said they wanted to reduce costs, the report said.
Among various industries, the average year-end bonus in finance is the highest - more than 40,000 yuan ($5,850) - followed by the real estate, high technology, internet, sales/trade and auto sectors. Those ranged between 24,000 yuan and 31,000 yuan.
But the report said the amount of year-end bonuses in finance, real estate, internet, auto and manufacturing is generally down this year because of declining industry performance.
A human resources manager from a foreign-funded auto parts maker based in Shanghai said the year-end bonus at the company will be equivalent to about one month's salary, half what it was last year.
"It was estimated that the performance of the industry as a whole would decline in 2018 and 2019, so employees generally expected the cut," said the manager, who asked not to be named.
"However, some top performers in such industries can still offer employees a high year-end bonus - as high as 10 months' salary, or more than 100,000 yuan," said Yang Alan, vice-general manager of the Human Capital Survey and Data solution Center at CIIC.
US-based networking website LinkedIn published rankings of people's outlooks on opportunities and the economy in nine Asia-Pacific countries and regions in December. The Chinese mainland was ranked third most-favorable, behind Indonesia and India.
The survey, which got responses from more than 11,000 people in September and October, included questions about people's confidence in prospects for the market economy in the upcoming 12 months, confidence in individual success in acquiring opportunities, outlook on personal finance and overall life satisfaction.