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Bonus Standards

Dear Dave
I work for a small engineering and surveying firm. The last couple of years have been tough due to a variety of reasons and no bonuses have been paid to anyone. This year is starting out much better and the potential for a yearend bonus seems much more likely to occur.
Regarding bonus amounts, is there an industry standard for bonuses paid as a percent of salary? Is there an industry standard for bonus paid by various classification of staff level within firms?

Dear BH

I’m not aware of any particular standards, but I can offer you the following. According to a 2003 survey conducted by Wind2 Software, Ft Collins, CO, discretionary distributions reported by the sub-group of 80 engineering firms who participated in the 2003 survey worked out to an average (mean) of 5.43% of total firm revenue. The survey did not break down this percentage by staff classification however.

For detailed salary and benefit information you can purchase comprehensive surveys from either ZwiegWhite ( or PSMJ ( Both companies compile exhaustive surveys each year covering pay and benefit practices by engineering and architectural firms.


Wahby and Associates