Employees hoping for a hefty bonus this Diwali may be in for a huge disappointment. The bleak economic and hiring outlook indicates that fewer companies will hand out bonuses this year, say HR pundits. Such is the mood that it seems even the mandatory crackers and sweets would be hard to come by.
White-collar employees have long bid adieu to this perk. For most, a bonus is a matter of the cost-to-company calculus, payable, if at all, at the end of the financial year.
Now, even the blue-collared workers may have to do without one or will have to be happy with a considerably smaller bonus cheque, says Shiv Agarwal, managing director of ABC Consultant. “Earlier, companies used to hand over up to two months of basic pay as bonus. Now, it will be way less.”
According to experts, Diwali bonus has been more prevalent in segments like manufacturing and engineering. But this year, hardly any of these companies is talking about one. Many of the corporates DNA spoke to say they have done away with the culture altogether.
“I haven’t heard of any company giving out bonuses this year. And even if some may decide to give out this incentive, it will be given only to the brightest people and will not be an across-the-board feature, “ says Annesh G Laikar, CEO, Selectema Consulting, a head-hunter.
Part of the reason for this could be that the companies don’t feel the need to employ any aggressive appeasement strategy this year. “In the 2006-07 era, there was a war for talent. Now, the situation has reversed. Talent is at war to hold on to the jobs. Therefore, fewer corporates feel the need to dole out such incentives,” says Yogesh Saigal, head, business development, Talisman Advisors, a search and selection firm.
By extension, a mid-term hike, too, may be out of the question now, say HR consultants.
What’s worse, even the gift box from the employer could get smaller.
According to a report by industry body Assocham, corporates have cut their Diwali gifting budgets by a whopping 45-50%. The Assocham survey found that 30 of the 150 companies interviewed have decided to entirely do away with gifting this year and plan to put the funds to better use.