China’s white-collar workers face bonus cuts

According to the report, only 20.2 per cent said they were sure of receiving a year-end bonus, down by 6.7 percentage points from the previous year. About 39.4 per cent were not sure about getting a bonus, while 13.8 per cent said they won't receive one.


Representative illustration of white-collar workers looking for their payouts. PHOTO: IC/ CHINA DAILY

February 7, 2024

BEIJING – Zhang Yue from Beijing will be in a tight spot in the coming months as her year-end bonus for 2023 was cut by nearly 30 percent. “I used to cover my rent with that money for the coming year, but now I have to tighten my belt,” said the 29-year-old.

Zhang is not alone. A recent report by recruitment portal Zhaopin shows the average year-end bonus for white-collar workers decreased last year due to employers’ controlling costs in the face of economic uncertainties.

The report is based on a survey of some 50,000 white-collar workers in the nation’s major cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai. According to the report, only 20.2 percent said they were sure of receiving a year-end bonus, down by 6.7 percentage points from the previous year. About 39.4 percent were not sure about getting a bonus, while 13.8 percent said they won’t receive one.

Their average expected bonus was 6,950 yuan ($968), a drop of 1,478 yuan from the previous year. “The main reason for the bonus decrease lies in the companies’ revenue. The company will spare part of the profits to reward workers when the company has good revenue for the year. However, it may downsize or cancel year-end bonuses if the company’s revenue is not that good,” said Li Qiang, vice-president of Zhaopin.

“We also found in the survey that the increase or decrease of the year-end bonus depends on the importance of the worker’s position, which means that workers in core positions creating greater economic benefits for the company will get higher bonuses from the company. And those white-collar workers who do regular jobs may see their bonus fall or even be canceled as their work didn’t bring much value to their employers,” he added.

According to the report, companies in high-tech industries including communications, automobile manufacturing and finance are generous with year-end bonuses, and workers in automobile manufacturing earned the highest bonuses, with 21.3 percent of those surveyed in the industry receiving a bonus of over 10,000 yuan last year.

White-collar workers in Beijing gained the highest year-end bonus, at about 10,298 yuan on average, closely followed by Shanghai at 10,070 yuan and Shenzhen in the southern province of Guangdong at 9,971 yuan.

The report said bonuses for male white-collar workers outnumbered those for females in 2023, but the gap had narrowed. Male white-collar workers received 7,493 yuan for their year-end bonus in 2023 on average, and the amount for females was 6,476 yuan.

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