Deciphering The Great Holiday Mystery Of The Middle East

23 July 2019
Holiday, Middle East, Careers

Seriously, what’s wrong with people?

I think if Ferris Bueller taught us anything, it’s the value of a holiday – no matter how short. And people in the Middle East get it, in fact a new study says that they’d even take a pay cut in return for more holiday allowance.

So why aren’t they taking off the days they already have then? Quite frankly we’re confused.

With the Gulf summer heat in full effect, it’s to be expected that many people might want to take a little break somewhere less scorching.

Perhaps a tropical island, or a cool city break. Or simply any place that does not have temperature differential of 30 degrees between indoors and outdoors. But, while in theory many people want more time off, it turns out in reality when offered the opportunity, often younger workers in the GCC turn away from it.

According to LinkedIn study, 36 percent of working professionals in the UAE and 26 percent in Saudi Arabia would rather take a pay cut in exchange for more holiday time - yet 45 and 24 percent respectively don’t use up their holiday time.

The report – which targeted 1005 full time employees, business owners and freelancers – shows this number hits 38 percent and 22 percent among millennials and, for those aged between 54 and 74, it increases to 50 percent in the UAE and 27 percent in Saudi Arabia.

However, the survey also shows that many workers and business owners continue to be their own worst enemies when it comes to utilising their annual leave.

According to the two-country research, 45 percent of millennials in the UAE and 24 percent in Saudi Arabia do not use all their holiday time, while 65 percent of employees of all ages feel overworked.

Which would indicate that being, or at least, feeling, trapped by your job can often be a self-inflicted malaise.

Most employers increasingly encourage their staff to use up their full allocation of days off, especially as many cannot be carried over or reimbursed.

That many people now say they’d take a pay cut for more holiday time suggests one of two things.

Either, in time honoured tradition, they are making well-intentioned claims that will not follow through with. Or that they are finally realising the benefits of regular, well-earned breaks, regardless of any adverse effect on their careers.

Either way, we’re taking a strong line on this one. Stay at home, go travelling, do what you like, just take your holiday already!