A look at incentive-based versus time-based pay in 2016

October 02, 2017

Workers in business and financial operations occupations who receive incentive-based pay averaged $51.65 per hour in 2016, while time-based workers in those occupations averaged $34.92 per hour. Incentive-based pay depends at least partially on productivity and may include commissions, production bonuses, or piece-rate work. The pay for time-based workers depends solely on a schedule, such as hourly or weekly rates or annual salaries.



Average hourly wages for civilian workers in selected occupational groups, by incentive- or time-based pay, 2016
Occupational group Incentive-based pay Time-based pay

Business and financial

$51.65 $34.92

Sales and related

35.31 15.82

Installation, maintenance, and repair

25.31 22.12


20.58 17.79

Workers in sales and related occupations who receive incentive pay earned $35.31 per hour in 2016, compared with $15.82 per hour for time-based sales and related workers. In installation, maintenance, and repair occupations, workers receiving incentive-based pay earned $25.31 per hour and those receiving time-based pay earned $22.12.

For production workers, incentive-based pay averaged $20.58 per hour, while time-based pay averaged $17.79 per hour.

These estimates are from the Modeled Wage Estimates derived from the National Compensation Survey and the Occupational Employment Statistics survey. Modeled Wage Estimates are also available for detailed occupations, geographic areas, and job characteristics, including full- and part-time status, work levels, and bargaining status.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, A look at incentive-based versus time-based pay in 2016 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/a-look-at-incentive-based-versus-time-based-pay-in-2016.htm (visited October 21, 2017).


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