Work hard, earn big

2013-09-16 08:00

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If you are paid a performance-based salary as opposed to a fixed monthly salary, you fall into an exponentially growing category of employees. A new survey shows that there are great benefits to adopting this approach, writes Neesa Moodley-Isaacs

Three very definite themes emerged from the Kelly Global Workforce Index 2013: performance-based pay, working from home and a growing interest in crowdsourcing.

Kelly Group’s executive marketing officer, Kim Meszaros, says: “Crowdsourcing is a relatively recent method of working that involves outsourcing tasks to a distributed group of people. It is a trend employers and recruiters should watch.”

Performance-based salaries

Performance-based pay includes any arrangement where an element of the total remuneration package is tied to meeting performance targets and may include profit sharing, performance bonuses and sales commissions.

The survey results point to a growing desire for remuneration that is in line with goals reached and objectives met.

»?Globally, just under half (46%) of employees are currently paid according to their performance and the remaining 44% strongly agreed that they would operate at a higher level if their pay were directly related to their performance.

This is largely attributed to high global unemployment rates, a prolonged economic downturn and a renewed focus on productivity.

»?Age was also a factor related to how employees are paid based on performance. Nearly half of employees under the age of 45 receive variable pay based on performance, while only about a third of people in their 50s earn a salary based on performance.

»?Across key professions, significantly fewer science professionals (31%) receive variable pay compared with engineering and IT professionals, at 52% each.

»?In South Africa, those receiving performance-based pay and those on a set salary are split firmly down the middle, at 50% each, but the majority of our country’s workers are in sync with international sentiment, with 38% in strong agreement that their workflow would improve if they were remunerated in this way. At least 69% of South Africans surveyed indicated that they would prefer performance-based pay to overtime or a fixed salary.

»?Dissatisfaction with pay is a global phenomenon, with fewer than half of respondents (38%) believing that they are paid a fair salary for the work they perform.

Working from home

The majority of employees across the world embraced the positive aspects of working remotely or working from home, with an increasing number of employers also accepting this trend.

»?Close to a third (29%) of the global workforce works remotely for at least part of their week.

»?The main reasons for working remotely are to minimise commuting time and cost, as well as to enjoy fewer interruptions and increased productivity.

Employees also enjoy the flexibility it provides them to deal with personal matters.

»?On the downside, 55% indicated lost opportunities for collaboration and networking, while more than a third experienced difficulties setting boundaries and separating their work from their personal lives. Employees also found they had reduced access to company information and involvement in team activities.

»?Other disadvantages of working remotely include reduced visibility, resulting in a disadvantage in terms of work assignments, performance evaluations or promotions; lack of motivation; and difficulty communicating with managers and colleagues.

»?In South Africa, working remotely is still viewed with some suspicion and the survey found that 71% of employees do not work from home.


While internationally 10% of people have had experience with crowdsourcing, this is a relatively new concept in South Africa.

It refers to a model where a business will turn to a global marketplace of individuals, contractors and freelancers for a product or service.

Meszaros says: “Only 17% of those surveyed indicated that they had worked in this way and 21% showed a strong interest in exploring the option of outsourcing work to an online group of workers.”

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