Shanghai workers earning higher salaries, annual awards

By Chen Shasha Source:Global Times Published: 2018/2/5 18:38:39

Big bonus

As a reward for an employee's hard work over the past year, annual bonuses are integral to corporate culture and their respective workforce. But with Spring Festival just around the corner, many local workers are discussing and debating how much they are receiving as their end-of-the-year award and if it's enough to fund their holiday travels.

According to a recent survey conducted by local newspaper Jiefang Daily and an online research provider among 1,000 Shanghai citizens, 13.1 percent of respondents received less than 2,500 yuan ($396.93) as their annual bonus, 22.1 percent received 2,501 yuan to 5,000 yuan, 9.3 percent received 2,5001 yuan to 50,000 yuan while only 3.6 percent received over 50,000 yuan.

The survey shows that, to some extent, the disposable income levels of local residents have increased compared to five years ago. About 60 percent of respondents received less than 10,000 yuan for their bonus, compared with 70 percent five years ago. Five years ago, the media did a similar survey.

According to the report, the respondents, sampled randomly with an equal male to female ratio, were aged between 18 to 60 years old and have been living in Shanghai for at least two years.

They are paid at different levels: 20 percent earn less than 2,500 yuan per month and 15 percent earn over 10,00 yuan.

Annual bonuses are proportional to the respondents' monthly salary, according to the survey. About 40 percent of respondents earning over 10,000 yuan per month showed that their annual bonus reached 10,000 yuan to 25,000 yuan. Respondents earning 5,000 yuan per month took a lower share in those ranges.

Some satisfied, some not

Cheng Shuai (pseudonym), a 29- year-old local who has been working for the past four years and presently earns approximately 20,000 yuan per month, told the Global Times that he received a 24,000 yuan bonus in January and will get another 20,000 yuan just before the Chinese lunar new year holiday. He feels quite satisfied with that amount.

"Annual bonus? What is that?" 30-year-old Li Xiao (pseudonym), who works in media, joked when asked about his earnings.

"We don't have an annual bonus except for an extra basic monthly salary at the end of the year, which is only about 6,000 yuan," he told the Global Times.

Li used the money to pay his housing mortgage. "As for the Spring Festival, I will just have to wait and see," he sighed, adding that his wife earns much more than him.

Laodong Daily reported in January that, according to a survey made by Chinese recruitment company among local white collars, the average annual bonus in Shanghai in 2017 reached 11,913 yuan, which is higher than 10,450 yuan for Ningbo of East China's Zhejiang Province and also higher than 10,216 yuan for Beijing, which places Shanghai first nationwide.

Lin Xing (pseudonym) works at a State-owned company and is satisfied with her bonus. "I got over 13,000 yuan after tax, a little bit higher than my monthly salary," the 25-year-old girl told the Global Times.

She said that the bonus matches her time at the company, as she has only worked there for about one year. "But it is still lower than I expected," she added.

She said she will just buy some clothes and cosmetics with the cash. "I will also give some money to my parents," she said.

Foreign firms

Companies have different criteria when calculating their annual bonuses. An HR officer (who prefers to remain anonymous) said that her company, a private Shanghai-based firm, considers many variables including company performance and employee performance, payment packages and positions of individual employees as well as equity.

"An individual's performance has a larger impact on the final evaluation," she said, adding that the management-level employees at her company receive about 15 to 20 percent of their yearly salary for their own bonuses.

The anonymous HR officer told the Global Times that while most private Chinese businesses issue their annual awards to employees in time for Spring Festival holiday, many foreign companies choose not to pay it until later in the spring.

Mu Mu (pseudonym), an HR officer working at an American corporation, confirmed this with the Global Times. "Some foreign companies wait until March or April, considering the fiscal year," she explained.

"My company pays in April," Mu Mu said. "The exact number is still unknown, but it is estimated that this year we will see 3.2 to 3.5 times our monthly salary, a record-breaking number in the company's history," she said.

For her firm, the bonus is mainly based on the global business performance of the entire company. "Ratios for individual performance are lower," she added.

Exploring new options

According to a survey by, 56.6 percent of respondents consider their annual bonus as a sort of deciding factor if they should switch companies, which is 17.6 percent higher than that in 2016.

Mu said that her company often sees a small peak in resignations every April right after bonuses are paid out. "But if we allocate it to 12 months, it is not an obvious increase," she said.

"Compared with base salary and double pay at the end of the year, annual bonuses are the more fluid part of the whole salary package," Mu said. "There are differences among departments and it changes every year."

"During the resignation interview, we never found that an employee used their annual bonus as a reason for quitting. I think most employees focus more on their basic salaries," she stipulated.

The anonymous HR officer agreed, telling the Global Times that annual bonuses are not a major reason why her company's employees quit.

"Basically, employees make new choices because of career development opportunities, overall industry performance or private family issues," she said.

"As for their bonus, if it decreases, it probably means that the company or the industry experienced a recession, which makes employees want to explore new job options," she added.

Photo: VCG



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