More professionals need to take a break

More professionals need to take a break

Employers looking to differentiate themselves should focus on selling work/life balance.

Professional workers in Australia use less of their annual leave entitlements than their counterparts in other countries, research shows.

Just 41 per cent of professionals used more than 75 per cent of their annual leave days, or about three weeks, in 2010.

Recruitment consultancy Robert Walters’ poll of 1700 professionals in 19 countries found Australian professionals were most likely to not take holiday leave at all last year, with one in four staff slogging out 52 weeks at the office.

It compares to professionals working in Ireland, who use their annual leave entitlements the most, with 87 per cent of workers taking more than 75 per cent of their leave.

Those working in the UK and Hong Kong also are likely to take more than 75 per cent of their leave, at 75 per cent and 69 per cent respectively.

The US had the highest rate of people using all their annual leave entitlement at 56 per cent. Reasons for professionals not taking leave include feeling pressured, either by their employer or their own work ethic, to get all their work done or feeling guilty about going on holiday and leaving their work for someone else to do.

Robert Walters accounting recruitment associate director Darran Butcher says to compensate, job seekers increasingly highlight that their work/life balance is an issue when looking for their next job.

“Employers who are looking to differentiate themselves in a competitive market and attract top talent therefore should focus on selling any work/life balance initiatives they implement,” he says.

“Organisations seeking to retain their star performers should also consider whether they are doing enough to offer work/life balance.”

Employers in Australia, Ireland and the UK all must provide a minimum of four weeks’ leave but in the US, where there is no legislation, professionals receive an average 12 days leave and in Hong Kong, 7 days’ leave.

Some countries provide less leave entitlements to workers than Australia, with no days legislated in the US, where the average professional worker receives 12 days a year.

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