North East Connected

Just 5% of professionals will receive their January bonus

Just 5% of professionals who have not been on furlough were told pre-Christmas that they will definitely receive their January bonus, whilst a quarter live in hope that they will receive this month’s bonus for their 2020 achievements – despite not actually receiving any confirmation.

19% of white-collar workers have safely assumed that they will not receive their annual bonus, whilst a further 19% have received official confirmation from their employer that their end-of-month January appraisals will not include their usual bonus package.

The findings come from the Robert Walters annual 2021 Salary Survey – which for the first time in the 20-year history of the survey has such doubt been cast on renumeration.

When surveying employers, just 12% stated that they were ‘very likely’ to pay out on bonuses – with more than double Executive & C-Suite professionals (14%) expected to get their bonus compared to those at Internship level (6%).

An overwhelming 71% of bonuses will be determined based on the company’s profit/revenue, and less than a third (31%) will base it off individual targets over the last year.

A quarter of businesses will allow managers discretion (26%), as well as shareholder discretion / market confidence (25%) to play a role in determining January bonuses.

How likely are you to give a bonus to your employees in the coming year?
Very Likely Not at all
Internship 6.15% 29.23%
Entry Level / Graduate 10.77% 13.85%
Associate 12.31% 9.23%
Mid-Senior 12.31% 7.69%
Manager 13.85% 7.69%
Director 12.31% 9.23%
Executive / C-suite 13.85% 9.23%

Sam Walters, Director of Robert Walters London, comments:

“It has no doubt been a difficult year for both employees and employers alike – and as a result tough decisions will need to continue being made by managers into early 2021.

“Whilst conversations around renumeration may not be all positive for the beginning of the year, managers should really enforce the critical role each of their employees played in helping to maintain their own, their colleagues, and the wider-businesses position throughout the pandemic – it has truly been a team effort.

“We have all hopefully had a lot of learnings from the world’s largest remote working experiment and so in January appraisals consider other benefits that can help offset pay – such as increasing autonomy, flexible-hours, secondment opportunities, areas to upskill, and wellbeing initiatives.”


A third of workers stated that they felt optimistic about receiving their anticipated pay increase this year, whilst only 4% of companies stated that they would be ‘very likely’ to offer previously promised pay increases.

Employee performance such as achieving objectives (63%) continued to be the leading determination for salary increases – followed by industry/business performance (38%), level of business-critical requirement (25%), employee potential and going above & beyond during the pandemic (25%), and concerns over retention rate (21%).

Of those receiving a pay upgrade, almost half (49%) will only receive an increase of 1-5%, whilst a tenth will receive an increase of 6-10%. Just 3% of those receiving a salary increase this year will receive anything above 11% – according to the Robert Walters survey undertaken by 1,000 companies in the UK.

Over a third of employees (35%) stated that they were unlikely to attempt negotiating a pay increase this year due to their industry or business being heavily impacted by Covid-19.

Other reasons for staff not bringing up pay increases in their January appraisals include; being put off due to colleagues being made redundant (12%), having already taken a pay cut or reduced hours (11%), and not wanting to jeopardise job security (10%).

Click here to download a copy of the 2021 Robert Walters Salary Survey.

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