Glassdoor Survey Reveals Average American Employee Only Takes Half Of Earned Vacation/Paid Time Off; 61 Percent Report Working While On Vacation

SAUSALITO, Calif. – The average American employee1 (of those who receive vacation/paid time off) reports using only half (51 percent) of his or her eligible time off in the past 12 months, according to the Glassdoor Q1 2014 Employment Confidence Survey.2 In addition to its core measures of employment confidence, this quarter’s survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive, took a look at employee vacation time, including the percentage of eligible vacation time/paid time off employees actually take, how much they work and why while on vacation, among other realities.

Among employees who receive vacation and/or paid time off, 85 percent report taking at least some time off in the past 12 months while 15 percent report taking no vacation/paid time off. Over the same time period, one in four (25 percent) report taking 100 percent of their eligible time off. Two in five (40 percent) employees report taking 25 percent or less of their eligible time off.

Taking paid time off, however, doesn’t mean it’s for a vacation as one in 10 (11 percent) employees who took vacation time in the past 12 months report using paid time off to interview for another job. Among those 18-34 years old, one in five (20 percent) say they’ve used vacation time to interview for another job.

Plus, vacationing doesn’t necessarily mean getting away from work. Three in five (61 percent) employees who have taken vacation/paid time off admit working at least some while on vacation. One in four (24 percent) report being contacted by a colleague about a work-related matter while taking time off, and one in five (20 percent) have been contacted by their boss. Of employees who have worked while on vacation, one in three (33 percent) report doing so because no one else at their company can do the work. Other reasons for working while on vacation include: fear of getting behind (28 percent), desire for a promotion (19 percent), fear of losing job (17 percent), and wanting to outperform colleagues (13 percent), among other reasons.

One in 10 employees (nine percent) even report a family member complaining they were working while on vacation, and six percent admit they have consumed alcohol while attending to work on vacation.

“It’s clear the word vacation among employers and employees doesn’t mean what it did in the past. Before technology allowed us to be connected 24/7, we were more likely to have actually ‘vacated’ our work for a couple of weeks a year, but now, it appears one full day away is a luxury,” said Rusty Rueff, Glassdoor career and workplace expert. “While there is always work to be done, employees should be conscious of using time off they’ve earned to recharge. In turn, employers should consider being more clear to everyone about what it means to be on vacation, actually let others be on vacation, and go beyond just encouraging employees to use time off. Some real rest and relaxation will help employees return to work energized, ready to contribute and make them less susceptible to ‘burn out.’”

The Glassdoor Employment Confidence Survey monitors four key indicators of employee confidence each quarter: salary expectations, job market optimism/re-hire probability, job security and business outlook optimism. In the first quarter, employee confidence in pay raises hit a new high with 44 percent reporting they expect a pay raise in the next 12 months, up two percentage points since last quarter and at its highest level since 2008, when Glassdoor initiated this survey. Confidence in pay raises is higher among men (49 percent) than women (38 percent).

Confidence in the job market has also increased, as 44 percent of employees, including those self-employed, believe it is likely they could find a job matched to their experience and compensation in the next six months if they lost their job, up three percentage points since last quarter and a high in more than four years. Among those unemployed but looking, nearly one in three (31 percent) believe they could find a job, down four percentage points since last quarter.

Layoff concerns remain at their lowest level in more than five years, as 15 percent of employees report concern they could be laid off in the next six months, unchanged from the past two quarters. Nearly one in four (23 percent) are concerned co-workers could be laid off, a low in more than five years and down four percentage points since last quarter.

When it comes to expectations for their company’s business outlook over the next six months, 44 percent of employees believe it will get better, up two percentage points since last quarter, 47 percent believe it will stay the same and one in ten (nine percent) believe it will get worse.


SURVEY SUPPLEMENT & GRAPHICS AVAILABLE: ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­For more details, including breakdowns of survey results by age, gender and location as well as quarter-by-quarter survey results, please see the full Q1 2014 Glassdoor Employment Confidence Survey Supplement: To request the survey supplement, graphics and/or complete survey methodology, please contact pr [at] Glassdoor [dot] com.


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1 For the purposes of this study “employees” were defined as U.S. adults 18+ employed full time and/or part time unless otherwise indicated.

2 The Q1 2014 survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Glassdoor from March 12-14, 2014 among 2,022 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact [email protected].


About Glassdoor

Glassdoor is the world’s most transparent career community that is changing the way people find jobs and companies recruit top talent. Founded in 2007, Glassdoor offers members the latest job listings, as well as access to proprietary user-generated content including company-specific salary reports, ratings and reviews, CEO approval ratings, interview questions and reviews, office photos and more. Members also have the ability to see Inside Connections™ at particular companies via their Facebook network. In addition, thousands of employers are using Glassdoor’s Talent Solutions to support their recruiting and employment branding efforts. Glassdoor, which won the 2013 Webby Award for Best Employment Site, is one of the most popular mobile job apps on iOS and Android platforms. Glassdoor is backed by Benchmark, Sutter Hill Ventures, Battery Ventures, DAG Ventures, Dragoneer Investment Group and Tiger Global. More information about Glassdoor can be found on the Glassdoor BlogGlassdoor Talent Solutions Blog and by following the company on TwitterFacebookGoogle+ and LinkedIn.