Career obsessed Aussies throw in the towel on vacations

On November 16, 2012 at 12:58 AM


Career obsessed Aussies throw in the towel on vacations

Expedia global study reveals Australians are more holiday deprived than ever

Australia ranked third in countries not using full leave entitlements

Despite having the reputation for being a laidback nation, new research has revealed that Australians are working themselves to the bone, with a quarter of all holiday leave not being used and an increasing number choosing to postpone booked trips to accommodate work.

According to the latest annual global Vacation Deprivation® survey from Expedia®, Australians are working harder than ever, choosing on average to deprive themselves of five well-deserved days of annual leave. In fact Australia ranks at number three, after Japan and Italy, as the country with the most days of unused leave.

Amee Evans, Expedia Australia New Zealand spokesperson, comments; “Aussies are definitely not making the most of their leave. We need to take a page from the French, who used every single day they were entitled to this year. It’s no wonder they were ranked as the world’s most holiday rich for the sixth year running.”

2012 has proven a tough work year as over a third (37 per cent) of Aussies also admitted to postponing or delaying a holiday due to work reasons, a five per cent increase from 2011.

Barbara Holmes, Director of Managing Work/Life Balance International, comments, “Taking a holiday is often more difficult to plan and budget for when there are conflicting priorities of work, career and the needs of others in the family.”

Employers are not being blamed for Aussie vacation deprivation, as 73 per cent of workers believe their bosses are supportive of them taking time off. This is in stark contrast to workers in Italy, Taiwan and Japan, where over 50 per cent believe their boss is unsupportive of vacations. The question remains as to why Australians are choosing not to use their full leave entitlements.

Barbara comments on the Expedia study “With over a quarter (28 per cent) of Australians saying they can’t afford a holiday and a further 11 per cent reporting that they get paid if they don’t use their leave, the study suggests that uncertainty around personal finances could explain the lack of leave taken by Australians.

Barbara continues“Whilst Australians put great emphasis on the need for an improved work life balance, which includes taking a break, few have defined what this specifically means for them and even fewer have a personal plan to achieve balance.”

Amee adds, “We really are working ourselves ragged. An ideal work-life balance not only leads to a happier life but more productive employees too. We need to remind ourselves that vacation days are not a gift or luxury, they’re ours to use.”

Overall Australia ranked joint eighth in the list of most holiday deprived nations (15 days taken), coming in behind Japan (5 days), South Korea (7 days), the US (10 days), Mexico (10 days), Taiwan (12 days), Malaysia (13 days) and Singapore (14 days).

There is a silver lining however as Australians have proven they’re capable of switching off and leaving work behind once the holiday has commenced. 42 per cent of Aussies never check their work emails or voicemail whilst away. This is in stark contrast to Brazil, where 94 per cent admit to checking in whilst on vacation.

Amee says, “It’s really important to switch off from work once we’re finally on holidays. We’re so busy it can be a hard thing to do, but it’s the only way to ensure we get the proper break we deserve.”

“Not every holiday needs to be a month-long extravaganza, short breaks are easy to book and with the variety of deals on offer at the moment, a couple of days away doesn’t have to break the bank.”

Full details on the 2012 Expedia Vacation Deprivation study can be found here:


The vacation deprived can head to for the best value flights, accommodation and holiday packages.

- Ends -

Notes to Editors:

Methodology Statement

Harris Interactive® fielded the online survey on behalf of from September 13 - October 12, 2012 among a nationwide cross-section of 8,687 employed adults aged 16+ in 22 countries. The data were weighted to be representative of the total adult population on the basis of region, age and gender.




Expedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE), the world's largest online travel company, operates™ ( in Australia. Expedia helps Australians plan and book their travel by providing a personalised service, the latest technology and a wide selection of holiday packages, cheap flights, hotel bookings, car hire, in-destination attractions & activities and travel insurance to suit their travel needs.


Expedia and are registered trademarks or trademarks of Expedia, Inc. in the US and/or other countries. Other logos or product and company names mentioned herein may be the property of their respective owners. © 2010 Expedia, Inc.  All rights reserved. 


About Barbara Holmes:


Barbara Holmes, Director of Managing Work Life Balance has over 25 years experience in human resources consulting specializing in work/life and flexible work strategies. She has worked extensively in Australia and the Asia Pacific region, leading and facilitating projects for government and private sector organizations including many of the Top 100 Business’s. She has contributed to a number of publications on flexible working, attraction and retention of staff and diversity issues. She has also written and produced a Guide to Flexible Working for Managers and Employees. She regularly facilitates workshops for Executives and Staff who want to learn how to achieve balance in their lives.

Barbara and the Managing Work|Life Balance International team developed and facilitated the National Work/Life Benchmarking Study which ran for 10 years, and was the only longitudinal study of work/life issues in the workplace, in the Asia Pacific Region.



For more information, please contact:

Amee Evans, Marketing & Communications Manager Expedia ANZ 2 8090 6627

Claire McPhillips, Bang PR – +61 2 9018 2222

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