Employee bonuses rise to £1,600 with financial services workers bagging the biggest bonus

A man who got a bonus

Employee bonuses rose by 4.4% in the 2015/16 tax year, taking the average payment from £1,500 to £1,600, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Bonuses accounted for about 6% of annual pay, higher than in 2014/15, but still below the pre-crash peak when 7.1% of employees’ total income came from bonus awards.

In the private sector, annual bonuses are typically worth £1,900, while public workers only get £100 on average.

The financial services industry still dominates the league tables for annual bonuses, paying £13,400 per employee on average.


At the other end of the spectrum, healthcare and social workers received practically nothing. Discretionary pay is rising fastest in the IT sector, with bonuses increasing by an average of 7% over the year to £4,600.

Engineers were less fortunate, as the manufacturing sector saw average bonuses fall by about £100 to £1,300.

The ONS notes that companies are increasingly paying bonuses later in the year, particularly in industries outside of the financial sector. By historical standards, bonuses tend to get paid in the first three months of the year, though an increasing number of firms are making annual one-off payments in April or later.

The table below details the average annual bonus by sector.

Industry Average bonus 2015/16
Financial and insurance activities £13,400
Mining and quarrying £7,200
Information and communication £4,600
Manufacturing: Chemicals and manmade fibres £3,300
Real estate £3,200
Wholesale trade (suppliers) £2,900
Professional, scientific and technical £2,500
Electricity, gas and water supply £1,800
Construction £1,300
Manufacturing: Engineering and allied industries £1,300
Retail trade and repair £1,100
Manufacturing: Food, beverages and tobacco £1,000

Source: ONS, 15 September 2016

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