Even during the season of giving, workers have low expectations of their bosses. Only about a quarter of employees in the United States expect to receive a holiday bonus this year, according to a report released Tuesday by Bankrate.com, a consumer finance website.
On top of that, just 12 percent of workers say they anticipate a pay raise this holiday season, according to the survey, which was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International.
Bankrate analyst Mike Cetera said that some employees may be anticipating raises or bonuses at a different time than the end of the calendar year. But he also said the survey underlines a sense of pessimism among the American workforce that has lingered since the Great Recession. "There's a built-in expectation now among a lot of workers that these things aren't coming their way," he said.
It’s not for lack of desire. Asked to select from a number of potential improvements at work, 39 percent of those polled said they wanted higher pay. Eighteen percent of those polled said they wanted better health insurance, while 16 percent said they wanted a better work-life balance. Ten percent wanted a new job, and 9 percent wanted more vacation time.
Raises have become increasingly rare as pay stagnates. Since the end of the recession, average wages have effectively remained the same, even as the unemployment rate continues to drop. Earlier this year, the Washington Post reported on employers’ increased use of benefits rather than pay raises — perks that include things like reduced gym membership, commuting subsidies and pet health insurance.
One sector that will likely see sizeable bonuses is the financial industry. The average securities industry bonus last year was $172,860, according to the New York state comptroller’s office . However, bonuses on Wall Street are projected to fall slightly this year, declining between 5 and 10 percent.