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More Companies Offering Bonuses This Year, But Uncertainty Around 2021 Hiring Remains

A report from outplacement, business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reveals that more companies plan to reward their employees with bonuses this year than last year, recognizing and rewarding teams who’ve weathered the pandemic and kept business going, according to the report.

The survey was completed in October 2020 and surveyed 189 companies of varying sizes and across various industries nationwide, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

More Companies Offering Bonuses Amid COVID-19 Disruptions

The majority of respondents reported the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted business, with 52.3 percent reporting worse business conditions. Another 17 percent reported that COVID has not affected business, while the same percentage of respondents said business conditions are mixed.

Last year, 34.9 percent of companies reported they never offer a year-end bonus, gift, or perk, similar to results tracked since 2017. In 2016, 27 percent of employers responded they never offer a gift, according to the data. This year, however, just 19 percent of employers reported they would not offer a bonus. Another 14 percent said they provide a bonus at other times during the year.

Businesses Still Unsure What Hiring in 2021 Will Look Like

Andrew Challenger, SVP, head of sales and media, Challenger, Gray & Christmas
Andrew Challenger, SVP, head of sales and media, Challenger, Gray & Christmas

The same report revealed that a quarter of businesses are unsure what hiring will be like in 2021, with uncertainty is making it difficult to predict hiring needs in 2021, while over 31 percent say hiring will be slow or flat in 2021. Another 7 percent predict decreased hiring in 2021 and 6 percent report a skills shortage.

"The employers who were able to retain their workforces and are, so far, weathering the pandemic recognize the importance of rewarding their teams, despite not being able to predict exactly what will happen next year," said Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. "The same uncertainty clouding predictions on business conditions is also clouding hiring forecasts. Undoubtedly, talent is available, so it's a matter of connecting with existing roles," said Challenger.