Work life balance has never been a hotter topic, with companies around the world being encouraged to prioritise the wellness of their employees, as well as professional output.
So, a timely survey conducted by LinkedIn has revealed that professionals in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia would be willing to take a pay cut in lieu of more time off. The survey also revealed that professionals in the region struggle to switch off on holiday, checking their emails throughout their vacation, and many millennials don't use all of their holiday allowance as it stands.
Holiday allowance is key when choosing a job
The survey's findings show that 36 per cent of UAE professionals would take a salary cut for more holiday, and 26 per cent of workers in Saudi Arabia agree.
LinkedIn reported, "Among the millennial demographic, 38 per cent in the UAE and 22 per cent in Saudi Arabia would choose this option [a salary cut], and this number rises even higher among boomers between 54 and 74 years of age – 50 per cent in the UAE and 27 per cent in Saudi Arabia."
As more and more companies start to offer unlimited holiday to employees, it is telling that 46 per cent of UAE respondents would turn down a job if the holiday offered did not meet their expectations. The same is true for 37 per cent of Saudi respondents.
The FOMO factor
While 43 per cent of those surveyed in the UAE did say holiday entitlement is a key factor when looking for a job, a percentage of millennials asked also said they do not use their entire holiday entitlement for a number of reasons.
Factors include work pressure, mistrust in colleagues' ability to deliver and, interestingly, work FOMO (the fear of missing out).
The professional networking platform revealed that many residents feel 'overworked'. The findings detail: "In the UAE, 38 per cent of women and 30 per cent of men did not use all their vacation days in 2018, citing 'too much work to do' or 'there was no one to fill in for me' as the reasons.
"The numbers in Saudi Arabia looked distinctly better, with 74 per cent of men and 79 per cent of women having used all their allocated vacation days," LinkedIn concluded.
Stick to your Out-of-Office
The platform also reports that people in the region do not switch off when they walk out the office for a vacation.
LinkedIn reported that, "37 per cent of UAE respondents took 26 to 30 days of leave in 2018, and when on leave". They added that shockingly, only "five per cent did not actively engage with work emails or receive phone calls" while away.
They go on to say, "Sixty-eight per cent of millennials aged 18 to 38 have been contacted by colleagues while on holiday on more than one occasion.
"While in Saudi Arabia, 27 per cent of working professionals took 26 to 30 days of leave last year, and seven per cent managed to steer clear of work during this time."
It is also telling that 65 per cent of employees, across both age groups, feel overworked.
The survey revealed that employees from both countries tend to experience a "burnout" if they have not taken a break in three months or more.
LinkedIn's Ali Matar, Head of LinkedIn Mena and EMEA Emerging Markets, said of the findings: “This survey is an important indicator of the overall professional trends in the UAE and KSA markets, the two biggest and most attractive to talent in the region. I encourage companies to review the survey outcomes to be best positioned to attract and maintain talent”.
The study was run from June 20 to 26, 2019, by consulting firm Censuswide. A total of 1,005 respondents aged 18 and above who identified themselves as full-time permanent employees, full-time self-employed, or freelancers, were surveyed by the company on behalf of LinkedIn.