Employees Prefer Cash, Gym Membership Over Company Holiday Party

Company soirees are low on the list of employee preferences for holiday perks, with cash, grocery gift cards and even gym memberships preferred.

An online survey from jobs and career community website Glassdoor.com and Harris Interactive showed the majority (72 percent) of  2,574 U.S. adults wanted a cash bonus. A number of items ranked above company shindigs with only 4 percent of those surveyed said they prefer a holiday party with an open bar, which came in at no. 9 in a list of 12 options.

In an uncertain economy with looming layoffs in some industries like the financial sector, company parties can now be viewed as irresponsible or extravagant, according to Wall Street Journal's career site, FINS.

However, white elephant gift exchanges and colleague-spousal introductions seem to be more popular than the two options that ranked below company parties: commuter subsidies (3 percent) and gold watch or other accessory (2 percent).

The Glassdoor survey results showed the following employee holiday preferences:

  1. 72% cash bonus
  2. 62% salary raise
  3. 32% paid time off that doesn't count against vacation
  4. 23% grocery gift card
  5. 14% work from home for a year
  6. 11% company stock or shares
  7. 10% health care subsidy
  8. 8% gym membership
  9. 4% holiday party with an open bar
  10. 3% commuter subsidy
  11. 2% gold watch or other accessory
  12. 2% other