Total bonus payments reached £42.4 billion in the UK in the 2014-2015 financial year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Its annual report found that bonus payments increased by 2.7% on the previous financial year and came in at just 0.1% below the 2007-2008 financial year, when bonuses reached a record level.
In the 2014-2015 financial year, the average bonus per employee was approximately £1,500. This is 0.2% lower than in 2013-2014.
Bonuses made up 6% of total pay, down 0.1% on the previous financial year. This compares to a peak of 7.2% in 2007-2008.
The professional, scientific and technical services industry recorded the biggest increase in bonuses in the 2014-2015 financial year, rising by £0.9 billion. The information and communication sector came in second place with an increase of £0.5 billion.
However, total bonus payments declined by 9.6% to £13.6 billion in the finance and insurance industry. The proportion of total pay from bonuses in this sector was 20% in 2014-2015, compared to a peak of 34% in 2006-2007.
Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of job site the CV-Library, said: “The fact that bonuses have increased by such a substantial level is great news for business and the jobs market.
“Bonus schemes are a proven way of incentivising and motivating staff, which has a significant impact on individuals and teams exceeding broader company goals, further contributing to business success and growth.
“Well-structured bonus schemes are also a great way of attracting new talent to an organisation, which is important in today’s competitive job market.”