END-of-year bonuses are on the cards for staff and top executives at many leading companies, a survey revealed this week.

Jack Hammer Executive Headhunters, an executive search firm, said its survey showed despite tough markets, companies were generally keen to reward their employees with 13th cheques.

"The survey indicates that of the companies polled, 75% indicated without qualification that employees would receive end-of-year bonuses or 13th cheques, while bonuses linked to staff performance would also be paid should the company show a profit," Jack Hammer MD Debbie Goodman-Bhyat said.

She said many working people had faced the prospect of an especially bleak festive season thanks to tough trading conditions in the economy, but companies had decided to stick to their bonus culture and obligations.

All respondents indicated their junior and mid-level staff would be receiving end-of-year sweeteners too.

"But what needs to be kept in mind is that many companies are contractually obliged to disburse 13th cheques, regardless of performance," Ms Goodman-Bhyat said.

"I would not say that the response indicates an easing of the extreme belt-tightening experienced over the past few years," she said.

"Rather, companies have recognised that to withhold the expected 13th cheque because markets are tough becomes a big issue with staff morale and ultimately productivity and staff retention."

In all sectors, from investment banking to manufacturing, performance or profit-share bonuses would be paid out to senior staff where individual and company performance targets were met.

However, the expected sums were set to be smaller than they would have been prior to the global financial crisis.

"Since then, bonus sums have consistently remained weak. The bonus structures, formulae and ‘potential’ have not changed, but the amounts disbursed have in almost no instances reverted to pre-2008 highs," Ms Goodman-Bhyat said.