April 02, 2009
Bonuses are a relatively small part of compensation for the overall civilian work force; the average employer cost per hour for bonuses was $0.40 in December 2007. Bonuses accounted for an average of 2.87 percent of cash compensation for the 42 percent of employees who received bonuses during the 2001-2007 period.
The percent of cash compensation received as bonus payments varied by occupation; the average percentage of cash compensation received as bonus payments was over 7 percent in the 10 occupations shown in the chart during the 2001-2007 period.
Among these selected occupations, 8 of 10 fall within the two broad occupational categories—management occupations and business and financial operations occupations. The two occupations not part of either of those broad categories are securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents (part of sales and related occupations) and nuclear engineers (part of architecture and engineering occupations).
These data are from the National Compensation Survey - Employment Cost Trends program. For more information, see "A Look at Supplemental Pay: Overtime Pay, Bonuses, and Shift Differentials," by John L. Bishow, Compensation and Working Conditions Online, March 2009. For this article, data were pooled from second quarter data for 2001 to 2005, and for 2007; fourth quarter data were used for 2006. The analysis of bonuses in this article was limited to jobs with positive payments for bonuses. The detailed occupations in the chart were selected by sorting on the lower bound of the 90-percent confidence interval for the mean of the percent of compensation received as bonuses. The occupations in the chart are those with the 10 highest lower bounds