Work hard, earn big


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

Three very definite themes emerged from the recently released Kelly Global Workforce Index 2013 – performance-based pay, working remotely and a growing interest in crowdsourcing. “A relatively recent method of working that involves outsourcing tasks to a distributed group of people, crowdsourcing is a trend to watch by employers and recruiters alike,” says Kelly group executive marketing officer, Kim Meszaros.

Performance-based salaries:

Perfomance-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 46% of employees are currently paid according to their performance.
  • The remaining 44% of participants surveyed strongly agreed that they would operate at a higher level if their pay was directly related to their performance. This is largely attributed to high global unemployment rates, a prolonged economic downturn and a renewed focus on productivity.
  • 48% of generation X-ers receive variable pay based on performance, followed closely by generation Y at 45% and baby boomers coming in at a distant 36%.
  • Across key professions, significantly fewer science professionals (31%) receive variable pay, compared to engineering and IT professionals at 52% each.
  • Fewer than half of respondents (38%) believe that they are paid a fair salary for the work they perform.
  • In South Africa, those receiving performance-based pay and those on a set salary are split firmly down the middle at 50% each.
  • The majority of our country’s workers are in agreement with international sentiment with 38% in strong agreement that their workflow would improve if they were remunerated in this way.
  • 69% of South Africans surveyed indicated that they would prefer performance-based pay to overtime or a fixed salary.


Working remotely:

The majority of employees across the globe embraced the positive aspects of working remotely or working from home compared to the disadvantages with an increasing number of employers also accepting this trend:

  • Close to one third or 29% of the global workforce works remotely for at least part of their week.
  • 67% of respondents believe that this way of working minimises time spent commuting and the resulting expenses.
  • 47% believe it results in fewer interruptions and improved productivity and 45% enjoy the flexibility it affords them to deal with personal matters.
  • On the other hand, 55% indicated lost opportunities for collaboration and networking.
  • 37% experience difficulties setting boundaries and separating their work from their personal lives.
  • 36% pointed to 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. KGWI 2013 reveals that 71% of employees do not work from home.
  • This is followed by 10% of workers who work remotely one day a week, and the percentages dwindle as the number of days out the office increase.
  • Fewer interruptions and increased focus and productivity are the leading motivators with 68% believing this to be the primary benefit of this way of working.


While internationally, one in 10 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. “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,” says Meszaros.

What is the Kelly Global Workforce Index?

The Kelly Global Workforce Index (KGWI) is an annual worldwide survey that canvassed the opinions about work and the workplace from more than 122 000 people from 31 countries including South Africa.

  •  This article was first published in City Press on 15 September 2013. 


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