Avail 50% Discount - Limited Time OfferCheck More

Thu Nov 23 2023

5 min read

Why Employers Offer Variable Pay to Some Employees | Advantages & Disadvantages

Home >> Blogs >> Why Employers Offer Variable Pay to Some Employees | Advantages & Disadvantages
variable pay

Variable pay is also known as incentive pay and performance pay that an employee achieves. The variable pay can be weekly, monthly, or annual. It is achieved when an employee or his/her team receives a target or achieves a goal in the company. These goals and targets are based on sales, marketing, profits, and clients. Variable pay is also considered in the portion of sales compensation that is valued at the employee’s performance. 

The employers are not compelled to pay this incentive. It is equally important for an employee to teamwork in the workplace to gain variable pay. In this blog, we are going to discuss everything about variable pay so without further adieu let us go through it.

Variable Pay Based On Two Facts

  1. Your performance
  2. Your company’s performance

Companies additionally use variable pay to drive performance culture and even leverage it to draw in and retain talent since proficient employees choose to work at business organizations where they will be paid variable pay based on individual performances. Companies tend to expect you to skill up the business. 

Variable pay has become an associate degree pretty progressively in the mode of compensation in most business organizations. Companies often apply the method of variable pay to drive performance culture to bring profit to the organization as well as examine the talents of employees by leveraging the method. 

Variable Pay Among Different Levels

For senior sector: 30%-50% of variable pay
For middle sector: 15%-30% of variable pay
For the junior sector: 10%-15% of the variable pay

Achiever of Variable Pay

There is a good quantity of variability across and inside business organizations once it involves who gets variable pay and why. Almost all employees receive variable pay. For instance, sales roles and leadership roles typically have specific payouts tied to specific deliverables. In contrast, engineering and accounting roles are less possible to own high amounts of variable pay. There are organization-driven and employee-based reasons for this. The kinds of individuals drawn to high amounts of variable pay tend to be your risk-takers.

Advantages of Variable Pay

  1. The attraction of talent is a necessary advantage of variable pay.
  2. Variable pay provides help to the accounts of the organization by distributing equal payments.
  3. Employees can work extra hard and earn performance-based variable pay which can also make extra income.

Disadvantages of Variable Pay

  1. Even a slight increase in variable pay can result in expense to the organization.
  2. The majority of companies fail to create an equalizer in the company.
  3. The criteria of variable pay have to be explained and processed accurately.

Risk-takers are typically drawn to each sale and leadership role. Roles that chart new territory, whether or not, sales and leaders perform it will create a big impact on the organization’s bottom line. Therefore, it creates directly linking performance with variable pay will attract high sales professionals and leaders and completely impact organizations yet. The prevalence and sort of variable pay may also depend upon the structure level. Specifically, organizations struggle with the extension of their variable pay range. 

Variable Pay Programs

Variable pay programs are highly progressive and worldwide nowadays. These programs, which also are typically brought up as “pay-for-performance” or “at-risk” pay plans, offer some or all of a workforce’s compensation-supported worker performance or the performance of a team. Variable pay programs are created through a spread of various compensation ways. Also read, how to write case studies for business. 

Within the broadest sense, variable pay programs embrace annual incentives or annual variable pay, or bonus payments like individual incentive plans, lump-sum payments, technical accomplishment awards, profit-sharing plans, and payments for fresh talent and data. Some analysts argue that variable pay programs ought to be outlined way more restrictively. However, most people agree that every one of the higher-than-share standard stress recognizing accomplishment is the final goal of variable pay plans.

Establishing a Variable Pay System

  1. Employees should have management over their performance. If staff square measure to a fault keen about the actions and output of alternative staff or processes, they will have very little management over their performance. Variable pay programs that don’t seem to be supported principles of worker direction square measure virtually actually doomed to fail.
  2. Variations in performance should mean one thing to the business. Employees should see that mediocre and high performances don’t seem to be rewarded equally, which results in the count. There are billable expenses you might not have an idea about.
  3. Business goals should be clearly outlined and adequately disseminated to staff, and they ought to be got wind of with their help.
  4. Performance should be measured often and faithfully. A transparent system of performance appraisal and feedback should be placed with often regular conferences collectively part.
  5. Business organizations ought to make certain that their variable pay plans reward employees for actions or skills that truly have the aims of the corporate.

Spot bonuses are essential to inspire workers who make exceptionally well profits for the business organization. Several companies go a step ahead and reward workers even for unsuccessful come just because the worker was daring enough to require the danger to gauge something new. 

It is seen that high-performing companies sometimes do not use spot bonuses and hiring bonuses. Apart from percentage, small-scale businesses perform less variable pay as compared to larger-scale ones. Also, read crucial tricks to cut costs in small businesses.

Factors to Consider Variable Pay

  • Culture of the organization
  • Competitor
  • Update
  • Flexibility
  • Success measurement
  • Simplicity
  • Realistic and achievable


Variable pay determines what matters most to the business organization. Also, variable pay is vital thing about reinforcing values within the organization. It has been seen that over 30% of the companies have a discretionary bonus set up, which suggests that their managers will reward their workers as they appear to match.

Several business organizations can have a mix of incentives and bonuses in addition to the full reward package. One of the achievable jobs to gain annual variable pay is by creating elevator pitches.

Variable pay might be a crucial side of an employee’s retention within the business organization. It is additionally helpful for obtaining things to be done and delivering new talent. However, it is to be ensured that the variable pay is planned properly and with absolute clarity. It must be realizable and realistic so most workers will participate in it.