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We’ve all heard that employees want more time off, but aren’t using it. While we might assume that the employees who aren’t using their vacation time are from the older generation, findings from Project: Time Off’s new report pointed out that Millennial workers are the most likely generation to forfeit time off, despite having the least amount of vacation days.
Surveying 5,641 workers, the survey makes it clear that work martyrs – employees who skip vacation to show complete dedication to their job, are worried they will be seen as replaceable, feel guilty for using time off, and believe they alone can do the job – are overwhelmingly Millennials (43% millennials compared to 29% of all workers).
So why are employees – especially Millennials – so afraid of taking time off?
The survey pointed out reasons including:
- Not wanting to lose consideration for raise or promotion (Millennial – 26%, Baby Boomers – 9%)
- Not wanting others to think they are replaceable (Millennial – 27%, Baby Boomers – 11%)
- Wanting to show complete dedication to the company and job (Millennial – 30%, Baby Boomers – 15%)
- Feeling guilty using paid time off (Millennial – 27%, Baby Boomers – 12%)
- Being afraid of what their boss might think (Millennial- 23%, Baby Boomer – 10%)
“The ‘entitled Millennial’ narrative is dead wrong when it comes to vacation. As the largest generation in the workforce, one that is now stepping into management, Millennials are developing vacation attitudes that will define and negatively affect America’s work culture,” said Project: Time Off senior director and report author Katie Denis.
“The circumstances of the Millennial experience—the Great Recession and its aftershocks, growing student debt, and an always-connected lifestyle—have created a perfect storm for their work martyr behavior.”
The survey also found that 48% of Millennials think it is a good thing to be seen as a work martyr by their boss. This far outpaces the average – 39% of all workers and is well ahead of the Baby Boomer generation (32%).
As if not wanting to take vacations isn’t bad enough, the survey also pointed out that Millennial managers are also reluctant to approve time off requests for their direct reports.
Of the 27% of Millennials are in already management roles, nearly half (47%) of them felt that company pressure prevents them from approving time off requests for their direct reports. While only 34% of Generation X and 37% of Boomers felt the same.
“There are larger implications for the workforce when people don’t take vacation,” Denis added. “Time off is essential to employee productivity, creativity, and overall performance. Businesses need to recognise the power of time off and work toward creating a positive vacation culture.”