Study: One in Five Private-Sector Employees Own Company Stock

December 22, 2003 ( - Of the 108 million Americans employed with a private-sector company, 21.2% own company stock.

The number of employees that are covered under a stock ownership plan goes up even higher in publicly held companies.  Out of the 60 million people who work for companies with stock, 39.3% of employees own company stock and another 24.5% hold stock options, according to theGeneral Social Survey (GSS) conductedNational Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago forThe ESOP Association.  

Other forms of “shared capitalism” – broad-based employee, current or deferred, stock compensation programs, such as employee stock ownership plans (ESOP), stock purchases, stock options, gainsharing , profit sharing, and bonus programs – were also popular among private-sector employees.   More than 33% of all employees in these firms were covered by a profit sharing plan, and 23.8% of the whole received a profit share last year.   While not as prevalent, gainsharing covered 23.2% of private-sector workers and 17.1% of the 108 million private sector workers received a gainsharing bonus last year.  

Those receiving profit sharing bonuses were awarded a mean 8.5% of salary and a median 4.5%.   Similarly, gainsharing bonus award came in at a mean 8.9% of salary and a median 3.8%.