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Korn/Ferry Executive Quiz Shows Drop in Corporate Holiday Celebration Plans

December 21, 2009
Expensive Office Gifts and Company Holiday Parties Downsized in 2009
LOS ANGELES, Dec 21, 2009 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- The most recent Executive Quiz results released today by the Korn/Ferry Institute indicate the recession may be taking a bite out of corporate holiday budgets and gift-giving. Expectations for gifts and holiday parties are down considerably since 2005, the height of the bubble economy.

Only 41 percent of respondents plan to attend an office party this holiday season, down from 52 percent in 2005. However, the decline may not indicate a lack of morale, but a lack of opportunity. The number of executives that said their office was not having a holiday party increased from 22 to 31 percent over the four-year period. Office parties remain very popular, however, with 53 percent of executives saying they "look forward to it every year."

Spending on gifts for co-workers appears to also be taking a hit this holiday season. One third of respondents say they will spend less than $50 (USD) on all business-related gifts this holiday season. In 2005, only 27 percent of executives said they would spend less than $50. However, the number of respondents spending more than $300 remained identical to 2005 levels, holding steady at 24 percent.

"Even if it is not an economic necessity to cut costs on holiday spending, executives and companies understand it is wise to be frugal," said Stuart Kaplan, global chief operating officer, Korn/Ferry Leadership and Talent Consulting. "But as the pace of work has gotten faster, and travel has decreased, holiday traditions in the workplace have become even more important to team building. It may be the only time of year when colleagues see one another and interact on a social level."

When it comes to individual gifts, half of executives (50 percent) feel the boss is the hardest to shop for, followed by assistants (20 percent), subordinates (18 percent) and peers (13 percent). The optimal price range for office gifts is between $25-$50 USD according to 44 percent of executives, while 37 percent feel spending less than $25 is appropriate. Just 19 percent feel it is necessary to spend $50 or more on co-workers' gifts.

Looking ahead to the new year, three quarters (75 percent) of survey respondents plan to make work-related resolutions heading into 2010, up by 5 percentage points from 2005.


The Executive Quiz is based on a global survey of executives registered within the firm's online Executive Center, Respondents from 65 countries, representing a wide spectrum of industries and functional areas, participated in the most recent Executive Quiz in November-December 2009.

About The Korn/Ferry Institute

The Korn/Ferry Institute was founded to serve as a premier global voice on a range of talent management and leadership issues. The Institute commissions, originates and publishes groundbreaking research utilizing Korn/Ferry's unparalleled expertise in executive recruitment and talent development combined with its preeminent behavioral research library. The Institute is dedicated to improving the state of global human capital for businesses of all sizes around the world.

About Korn/Ferry International

Korn/Ferry International, with a presence throughout the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, is a premier global provider of talent management solutions celebrating 40 years in business. Based in Los Angeles, the firm delivers an array of solutions that help clients to attract, develop, retain and sustain their talent. Visit for more information on the Korn/Ferry International family of companies, and for thought leadership, intellectual property and research.

SOURCE Korn/Ferry International

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