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Zweig Group released the first of its Spotlight Surveys series, Work Travel & Reimbursement. This digital product offers an in-depth look at firms’ policies related to business-travel reimbursement. The inaugural Work Travel & Reimbursement Survey implements some new data breakdowns that readers of other surveys have requested. For example, readers will be able to see the percentage of respondents that offer specific engineering services, in addition to firms’ broad markets within the industry.

Among the findings of the Spotlight Survey is firms’ willingness to provide front-end coverage of employees’ personal travel costs conducted in conjunction with business travel, with either the expectation of repayment or the deduction of the costs from the employees next paycheck. About 16 percent of firms said that they would prepay for employees’ personal travel expenses when that travel is conducted in conjunction with business travel. Almost 11 percent of responding firms allow employees to repay them at a later date, versus deducting the amount from their paychecks, which happens at about 5 percent of firms.

Firms in the architecture/interiors (67 percent), single-discipline engineering (20 percent), and multidiscipline engineering (11 percent) are most likely to prepay for employees’ personal travel expenses with the expectation of being repaid later. In particular, firms based in the Middle Atlantic and South Atlantic regions were more likely to offer this benefit, as do a greater proportion (61 percent) of firms with fewer than 50 employees.

Though it’s interesting to note where these practices are taking place, it’s almost more interesting to see where they aren’t. For example, no fast-growth firms — those that have experienced an annual revenue/staff growth of 20 percent or more during the last three years — reported prepaying for employees’ personal travel expenses, and only 14 percent of very high profit firms — those with an annual net pre-tax, pre-bonus profit on net service revenue of 15 percent or more during the last three years — reported doing so. These numbers suggest that growing firms are less likely than firms overall to extend this “prepay option” to their employees.

Andrea Bennett is research & publications manager for Zweig Group. She can be contacted at research@zweiggroup.com.

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