Report: Millennials in UAE are most vacation deprived

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Picture for illustrative purposes only. ARCHIVE

Despite advocating for a healthy work-life balance, 50 percent of millennials living in the UAE are holiday deprived and struggle with taking, planning, and enjoying a holiday, according to a recent report.

According to Expedia’s 24th Annual Vacation Deprivation Report, millennial employees in the UAE typically spend six months to a year on average without taking a vacation, as 19 percent confessed their personal time didn’t allow them to vacation last year. Millennials are people born between 1981 and 1996.

UAE millennial residents have a higher percentage of vacation deprivation than Gen Zs at 50 percent compared to 35 percent to the latter group. It also shows that over half of millennials surveyed are full-time employees. However, Gen Zs globally are more vacation deprived than any other generation. Gen Zs are those born between 1997 to early 2010s.

“Despite receiving more than six weeks of annual leave from their employers and using all of it UAE residents still feel vacation deprived,” says Melanie Fish, head of Expedia Group brands public relations. “Millennial workers have difficulties planning a vacation: 57 percent feel overwhelmed by the process and find booking travel stressful because they never know if they’re getting a good deal. There’s so much choice that contemplating travel options can become a major mental burden.”

While UAE millennials overall take time off less frequently, more than half of Gen X workers (33 percent) go six months or more between holidays. Only 5 percent of millennials allow themselves a break from work every month.

For today’s youngest workforce, Gen Z, the biggest thing holding them back is saving for a big trip this year. While being money-conscious is not exclusive to any particular generation, it’s most prevalent in Gen X with (34 percent) saying they much prefer saving their money for a more fulfilling trip, versus just 29 percent of millennials and 27 percent of Gen Zs. Gen X are those born between 1965 and 1980.

For UAE’s millennials, 50 percent feel holiday deprived according to Expedia’s report, so with half the nation yearning for more holidays, it is perhaps not a surprise given that 32 percent of went a full year without a holiday last year.

Millennial women feel just a little more vacation deprived than men (58 percent versus 57 percent). The top reasons for millennials of both genders for not going on holiday are that they are saving for a bigger vacation this year (29 percent), saving time off for unexpected leave (27 percent) and have difficulties in balancing work schedules or workloads due to shortages in staffing (26 percent).

International travel destinations are where most millennials spend their holiday days (52 percent). However, their perfect make up of annual trips would be to take two long weekends, four one weeklong holidays and two 14 days holidays per year.

UAE employers champion holiday time, with Gen Zs eager for a 4-day working week

On average, millennial employees living in the UAE receive 25.5 holiday days from their employer and ended up using between 21 to 30 days in 2023, while those lucky ones with unlimited leave used 30 days. In 2024, Millennials plan on taking the same amount of holidays they did in 2023 and the nation’s employers are encouraging it. Expedia’s report showed that UAE employers are doing a good job of encouraging people to take holiday days, with between 80 percent to 81 percent of millennial and Gen Z workers respectively feel their employer is supportive of them taking holidays.

As expected, almost two thirds (64 percent) of UAE Millennials feel their mood boost when they were on holiday but interestingly over 44 percent see their mood improve when they book the trip and even the planning of it boosting their mood (35 percent).

That holiday feeling is all about spending quality time with loved ones for millennials (61 percent), for 60 percent it is about rest and relaxing and for 31% it is that freeing feeling from the daily responsibilities. Almost 71 percent of millennials think holidays are good for health and wellbeing, that it is a deserved basic right and that they always come back feeling less anxious. ICA/Expat Media

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