Festive season dimmed as companies look for cheer

Many companies in Russia are not holding holiday parties at all for the second year running, and event specialists say those that are celebrating are scaling down.

2009 has been a difficult year for companies across the globe – Falling profits, low dividends, lay-offs, pay-cuts. Not surprisingly year-end bonuses and other perks have also come under the axe.

Only 19% of employees in Russia's major cities will get to go to a staff party this year. Moscow event agencies have noted a 20% decline in the number of orders compared to last year. Local Master of Ceremonies German Abaev says his workload is down as much as 50%.

“You have to do a very good job for less money. But the demand is growing. People who own businesses want to build morale and do a lot of team, building. When the management gives a welcome speech, they pretty much try to convey the message – we are doing okay.”

Looking back at before the financial crisis, the average budget for a company party for 100 people was about $100,000 dollars in Russia. Today, that number ranges from $40-70,000 dollars. Anton Derlyatka, Managing Partner at Ward Howell, says expectations have been pared back

“People finally got much more realistic about what they can spend for a New Year's party. But I think it's going back to a more sort of weighted situation unlike last year. Last year was just almost no parties at all.”

Much of what is happening this year is more modest than previous festivities – but the collective spirit of co-workers, friends, and family has found a way to survive.

Even if your company isn't having a New Year's party this year, you can still hope that someone else invites you to come have fun at theirs.