British employees are least likely to reward their staff at Christmas, according to a new GMIPoll on worldwide Christmas trends.

The poll, which surveyed 17,000 consumers across 18 countries worldwide, found that 63% of UK respondents did not expect to receive a Christmas bonus this year. Only 8% expect to receive a gift voucher, and 3% are looking forward to a food basket.

The GMIPoll found that German and Australian employers are almost as mean as their British counterparts, with 56% of the respondents not expecting a company bonus this Christmas. In sharp contrast to Britain, Germany and Australia; Russian companies are far more likely to reward their employees (59%), closely followed by China (47%) and Canada (24%).

Dietmar Walter, managing director, GMI Europe said: ‘Despite what we’re reading in the papers about city bonuses, the poll demonstrates that the days of inflated bonuses are over; with the majority of UK businesses appear to be making prefer rewarding their employees in more modest ways.’

Most nations prefer to reward their employees in other ways – in Brazil 45% of employees are expecting a food basket, while gift vouchers are the most popular option in France. Worldwide, the GMIPoll found that employers tend to favour rewarding their staff with a Christmas party, perhaps to compensate for not giving out Christmas bonuses.

The party animal nations are lead by China, where 88% of employers throw Christmas parties for their employees. Closely following China as the party nations are the Russians (86%) and the Brazilians (78%). On the other hand, the party pooper nations are The Netherlands, where only 31% of employees are rewarded with a Christmas party, as well as the Italians (37%).

It may not be surprising then that the Global Workforce Index 2006, an international workplace survey carried out by employment agency, Kelly Services, has found that British workers are amongst the unhappiest in the world.

Some 48% of people claimed to be unhappy with their current job, and out of 28 countries, the UK ranked equal 23rd with Thailand. Denmark has the happiest workforce, with 74% of employees saying they are satisfied with their jobs. Mexico and Sweden followed with 71%.

Across the board, UK bosses received only modest praise from workers who awarded them an average score of 6.7 out of 10. UK bosses were rated 11th amongst the 28 countries, the best bosses being found in Mexico, USA and Canada, and the worst in Sweden, Italy and Turkey.

A staggering 43% of employees claimed their boss does not reward them for a job well done. Amongst those who do show praise and recognition, there was surprisingly little difference between men and women. And 58% of women show their gratitude to their employees compared to 56% of men.

UK workers employed in transport and distribution industries are the least happy (25%). And Wales has the happiest workforce (60%) with Scotland (58%) and London (57%) following closely behind. Northerners are the least content at work, with 24% claiming they’re unhappy in their current role.

Steve Girdler, Kelly Services sales and marketing director said: “The survey has revealed both good and bad news for the UK. Whilst we may be one of the unhappiest workforces in Europe, we still have confidence in our bosses, believing they are doing an acceptable job. It is not, therefore, our bosses who are making us disgruntled. It is more likely to be our long working hours, the highest in Europe, or perhaps even our long commutes to work.

"It is important to try and find what makes a contented and motivated workforce because workers who enjoy their work will make a more effective contribution to the performance of the organisation."