As we noted last month, a good work/life balance is a key goal for many employees. So, is this a reality in the United States? In fact, how good is American vacation time compared to elsewhere?


Ipsos Study: American Vacation Time Compared to Elsewhere

As Niall McCarthy reports for Statista:

“Depending on the country and company, some employees lack the comfort and flexibility of taking their vacation days into the following year. Thus, they will lose the days if left unused. A recent Ipsos survey lists the countries where workers are the most and least likely to use up their all of their vacation days in 2018. Saudi Arabia has the highest share of people agreeing that they will use up the rest of their time off this year (81 percent). And followed by Germany (79 percent). Yet, it is slightly lower in both the UK and Russia (74 percent). 

“In the United States, workers get a much bleaker deal on vacation days than Europe. And interestingly, 58 percent of U.S. workers still say they will not manage to use all of their days off by the end of the year. The share of workers across the border in Canada saying they will use their remaining time off is even less at 55 percent. In Asia, the likelihood of all vacation time getting used up is even lower. With only 42 percent saying they will use their total allowance in China. And a dismal 34 percent in Japan.”

For a larger view of the Statista infographic, click the image.

American Vacation Time Compared to Elsewhere

13 Replies to “American Vacation Time Compared to Elsewhere”

  1. The results of this survey are not surprising to me. There have been many issues arising in the news concerning US vacation days. I have noticed when traveling that US tourists go on vacation for a shorter period of time then European tourists. Speaking with European tourists they were shocked to hear how short our trip “a week” was. They would continue to tell me that their parents had more than a month worth of vacation time. In the US it is frowned upon to take days off especially if you’re not ill. Companies are not lenient when giving employees time off, and even when they do get time off, the time gap is minimal.

  2. I find it interesting how only a little bit more than half of Americans will not use up all of their vacation days. I feel that many Americans are more concerned with taking days off in comparison to Europeans. Some of it may have to do with maybe not being paid when you take a “sick” day. Also, the working world in America has expanded rapidly. For instance, back in the 1920’s, women did not typically have a job that brought in income, they were homemakers. In today’s world, that has changed drastically.

  3. After graduating in a couple of years and entering the work place, I want a good work/ life balance. Yes I am going to college to get a stable job for income but I also do not want to work 24/7 and only think about working. A little more than half of the population do not utilize all of their vacation days. I am not surprised because U.S. vacation times are maybe a week long and in the European culture, it is definitely more time than that.

  4. It’s a little surprising that a little over half of U.S. workers would use up their vacation days. I would think the average American worker would try and use up their sick days. Also, I suppose that depends on the type of occupation you have and if you can take time off without falling behind.

  5. Having a balanced work/life is important to stay fresh and get ready for a new challenge. However, in US only about 58% of the workers workers are using their vacation days. This is quite surprising since people in US are sometimes known for living happy and relaxed life. There might be many reasons as to why the people in US are less likely to use their vacation times, also it depends on the culture the person belongs. Sometimes people are just happy at the place they work and don’t want vacation and sometimes they don’t get the days they want vacation on. However, having a vacation is helpful since it helps you to relax.

  6. It is unsurprising to me that China and Japan both rank towards the bottom here. As we know, both countries’ workers are known for the hard working and high emphasis on career achievements. I think that regardless of where you are working, everyone should have a balance in their work life. We should work hard and play hard too.

  7. It was interesting to see how different countries compared to each other when looking at which ones were more likely to use their vacation days. I expected to see European countries being more inclined to use more of their vacation days but I was surprised to see that Saudi Arabia was at the top of the list. I also figured the US would fall in the middle somewhere because a fair amount of people like to use all of their vacation days while others try to save them and rather be working. Also, it made sense that China and Japan were at the bottom of the list.

  8. I find it quite interesting that we, as Americans, only use a little over half of all of our vacation days and that many other countries use close to all of them. For us a long vacation is one week. However, other countries will take about a month off and travel. It would be interesting to see this comparison in relation to productivity as well.

  9. I am hardly surprised at the results of this study. I have met many Americans who are concerned before they leave for vacation that they will “fall behind” at work or that their boss will frown upon their leaving for more than a week. It is an unfortunate reality and no wonder that more and more Americans are seeking the better work/life balance that is so essential to the degree of productivity any employee is capable of offering.

  10. I find it very interesting that the U.S. doesn’t have a lower score than it doesn’t for the workers that would use up their vacation days. Overall, I think most workers are afraid to use their sick days because it is very difficult to plan out a vacation if you have family since everyone’s schedules differ. Not only that but people would rather save up their vacation days for if they’re sick since most sick days are not paid, therefore if they don’t really get sick then they most likely will not use up their sick days. I hope that one day there will be a better system for the vacation days and sick days.

  11. This article clearly reflects the importance of a work/life balance in the workforce. I am surprised to see that America is in the middle rather than in the front. Though I know that many middle Asian countries are very rich, I did not expect Saudi Arabia to rank first. I would think that Qatar will be the first instead. What is more, it is obvious to see from the image that most Asian countries ranked lower. This can indirectly represent the different perspectives between Western and Eastern people. Western people might think, “A vacation can make you more productive,” while Eastern people believe they would have a higher chance to get fired or lose the chance to get promoted if they take their vacation days. I think it is important for everyone to find their own work/life balance to enjoy their high-quality lives.

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