Research Outline

Employees' Variable Compensation Metrics


To inform the client's understanding of the Total Addressable Market (TAM) of their new business venture.
  • Provide thee total variable compensation (sales commission + bonuses) figures for the for:
    • The US
    • North America
    • Latin America (LATAM)
    • Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA)
    • Asia Pacific (APAC)
  • The figures for each of these regions should be broken down by industry with as many details as possible.
  • The historical (last 5 years) figures and any available projected figures for each of the regions above should be provided.
  • An ideal response will provide the total variable compensation amount earned, and the total variable compensation amount earned per capita for reach region and time period. In the event that such information is unavailable, the total compensation metrics (not limited to variable pay/compensation) for full-time white collar employees in each of the region should be provided.

Early Findings

Initial findings suggest that the variable pay figures (market size) for full-time employees broken down by industries is not publicly available. This is most likely due to the very niche nature of the information and the unavailability of research that provide such granular data. However, information regarding general variable compensation figures for employees is available. Hence, the research has been steered to provide this information. While information regarding general variable compensation figures for employees is available and has been provided, these figures are not broken down by nature of employment, that is, full-time vs part-time.

US Variable Compensation Figures

  • According to a study by, as of 2018, 77% of US companies used variable pay programs as part of their total reward packages. Another 9% of the companies studied indicated that they could or will definitely adopt variable pay programs withing the next two years of the survey.
  • According to Gallagher's 2020/2021 Salary Planning Survey Report, 40% of responding employers use variable pay for at least an employee group. 57% did not plan to change their variable pay budgets for 2020 despite the effects of the pandemic. 73% do not plan to change their variable pay budgets for 2021.
  • Data from a Hewitt Associates study revealed that about 50% of companies that experience a single-digit revenue growth believe that the cost of their variable pay programs outweigh the benefits. However, most companies with double digit revenue growth reported positive outcomes from their variable pay programs. A statement from the study reads, "The fact that many companies don't benefit from variable pay plans is a significant issue, as they're spending more than $54 million a year on this type of pay."
  • According to data from Hewitt, as of 2016, it was estimated that US companies would spend 12.8% of their entire payroll on variable pay.


  • From the initial hour of research, the research team has determined that variable compensation figures (market size) for full-time employees is unavailable from public sources. As such the research was steered to provide the available information which are general figures that are not industry-specific and not broken down by employment type (full-time vs part-time).
  • To provide the total variable compensation figures in USD for the US and the other regions, more data is required to perform calculations and estimations. This could not be achieved within the first hour of research. Hence further research is required to achieve this. In the event that there is no sufficient data to make estimations and calculations for any region, the most relevant and available percentages and data points will be provided.
  • Going forward, based on information availability reasons, the research team will provide general variable compensation figures that are not industry and employment type (full-time vs part-time) specific.