2023 Challenger Holiday Party Survey

Published December 13, 2023

End of Year Celebrations and Company Holiday Parties

Companies are ready to celebrate with their teams in-person as we end the year, according to new survey results from global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

This year, 64.4% of companies report they are having in-person holiday parties, up from 57% who reported this last year and 27% who held in-person parties in 2021. This is the highest percentage of companies holding in-person holiday parties since 75% of companies reported they held parties in 2019.

Another nearly 4% will hold virtual events this year, up from 2% who reported holding virtual events in 2022, likely due to the adoption of remote and hybrid work. Of those holding parties, 4% reported they will include COVID modifications.

Challenger Gray & Christmas 2023 Year-End Survey Report: Will your company hold an in-person holiday party this year?; created in Piktochart

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. ©

“Despite companies approaching the end of the year cautiously due to the economy, they are ready to celebrate their teams, according to our findings, and want to do so in-person,” said Andrew Challenger, labor expert and Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Will your company hold an in-person holiday party this year? (Historic 2020-2022)

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. ©

The new findings are from a survey conducted online in November among 202 U.S.-based companies of various sizes and industries nationwide. Challenger has tracked employers’ holiday party plans since 2004.

The number of companies holding parties this year is similar to 2018, when 65% of companies reported they were holding year-end celebrations. In the last decade, the best year for holiday celebrations occurred in 2014, when 78% of companies responded they were hosting holiday parties.

Regarding budgets, 66% are maintaining their party budgets, while 8% reported they are spending less this year. Another 33% are spending more on employer celebrations this year, 70% of whom will spend under 10% more.

More companies plan to use the workday to celebrate with their teams: 58% in 2023 compared to 48% last year. Another 32% plan to use company premises to hold the celebrations, compared to 28% last year.

“With remote and hybrid work becoming the norm, companies are using their offices as a central hub, and know workers should be available to come to the office during working hours,” said Challenger.

Perhaps because more parties will be during the day at work, fewer companies plan to serve alcohol this year. Nearly 57% of companies will serve alcohol at the party, compared to 63% who reportedly served alcohol in 2022.

Challenger Gray & Christmas Year-End Survey Report: If you are having a party, what will you include or plan for employees 2019-2023 If you are having a party, will you be:

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. ©

2024 Hiring Plans

In Challenger’s survey, 46% of companies reported they increased hiring in 2023, and expect to continue adding workers in 2024, up from 39% that reported this at the end of last year. It is considerably lower than the 63% who reported they planned to hire more in the coming year at the end of 2021.

Challenger Gray & Christmas Year-End Survey Report: Which statement best describes your company’s hiring outlook for 2024?; 2020-2023

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. ©

Layoffs & Cost-Cutting

While companies added workers in 2023, they also reported layoffs: 29% of companies reported they had layoffs in 2023, and 21% report they will likely conduct layoffs in 2024. Another 20% report they are cutting costs in other ways.

Challenger Gray & Christmas 2023 Year-End Survey Report: Has your company or does your company plan to undergo layoffs in 2023 or early 2024? Please select all the best options.

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. ©

Upcoming Business Conditions

Companies are optimistic on business conditions at the end of 2023. Nearly 35% of companies report business conditions have improved as we enter 2024, compared to 25% who reported this at the end of 2022. Nearly 36% report conditions are on par with last year. Just 11% report conditions are worse than last year.

Challenger Gray & Christmas 2023 Year-End Survey Report: How are business conditions as you enter 2024? (2021-2023)

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. ©

Demographics of Survey Respondents

Survey Demographics 2023 Challenger’s Year-End Survey Report: Holiday Parties

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. ©

 

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Contact Colleen Madden Blumenfeld for more data or to set up an interview with SVP Andy Challenger.

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