Ever wonder what your peers are offering employees in terms of equity plans? How many offer employee stock purchase plans? What kind of participation is typical? Are options the preferred choice? Or restricted stock? What are the typical criteria used to measure performance awards?

Computershare's Employee Equity Plans Trends Report offers answers to questions like these and more. For instance, the U.S. continues to see a trend towards the use of restricted stock over stock options and stock appreciation rights as part of a compensation package. 95.3 percent of the S&P 1500 offer restricted stock compared to just 41.2 percent offering options. In fact, 37.9 percent offer only restricted stock and no options. In 2010, that number was only 22.3 percent.

With employee stock purchase plans (ESPP), qualified plans are by far the preferred choice. Among public companies offering ESPPs, 80 percent offer a qualified plan, despite the change in accounting rules that require expensing qualified ESPPs. Perhaps this preference stems from the fact that we see higher levels of participation in qualified ESPPs versus non-qualified ESPPs. For companies that want to encourage stock ownership across all employees, the qualified ESPP is the way to go.

This is just a sampling of insights available. In addition to more on equity awards and ESPPs, there are best practices for tracking mobile employees, a look at how to manage retirement eligible awards, plus an overview of the current trends in employee equity plans from around the world.

Download your own copy of the Computershare Employee Equity Plans Trends Report.