So much for those who say Gen Zers look for every excuse not to work. A new survey from LinkedIn says this is a generation too committed to their jobs to take vacation.
LinkedIn’s research looked at attitudes about vacation across four generations — Gen Z (born between 1997 and 2012), millennials (1981-1996), Gen X (1965-1980) and baby boomers (1946-1964). And the youngest generation was the group least likely to take time off soon.
Specifically, 58% of Gen Zers surveyed said they planned to take some vacation in the next few months, compared with 64% of Millennials, 62% of Gen Xers and 64% of Boomers.
And even when Gen Zers do get away from the office, they’re still not at ease. The survey found that 35% of Gen Zers said they felt guilty when not working on vacation, compared with 30% of Millennials, 32% of Gen Xers and 22% of Boomers.
The LinkedIn survey was part of the company’s Workforce Confidence Index, which entails reaching out to members of the job-focused social-media platform with questions. The company says roughly 3,000 to 5,000 members respond to each survey.
What’s behind the Gen Z hesitancy to just take — and enjoy — time off? Lots of factors, says George Anders, a senior editor with LinkedIn.
Begin with the fact that Gen Zers, by virtue of their youth and relatively short time in the workforce, are likely to have less vacation time — and also likely to have less money to spend for a trip, Anders says. But there’s also concern that taking those days off could signal to employers a lack of interest or enthusiasm in their jobs.
“You’re trying to get known as someone who can make a mark, so taking a vacation can feel a little bit risky,” Anders told MarketWatch.
One young commenter on LinkedIn, who identified herself as a content marketing manager and business-school student, said in response to the survey that work “teams are too lean and workloads too high” these days, and that makes taking a vacation a challenge.
“I’ve definitely left time off on the table because it’s often not worth the extra stress,” she said.
Of course, the issue of not taking vacation is hardly limited to those in the early days of their careers. In general, Americans have long been known for leaving vacation days unused. It was something borne out again this year in a study from the Pew Research Center that found 46% of those surveyed didn’t take all the time off that they were allowed.
And the key reasons why they don’t? Pew found that 52% said they didn’t feel the need for such time, and 49% said they were worried about falling behind at work.
As it is, Americans lag behind those in other countries in terms of being given paid time off. In some countries, up to 30 vacation days are mandated by law — Europeans especially enjoy generous vacation allotments. But in the U.S., there’s virtually nothing that requires employers to grant time off, even though most companies obviously do offer some vacation days.
Still, it should be noted that Gen Zers aren’t necessarily averse to travel. Just the opposite, in fact, according to other surveys. For example, a survey this year from Morning Consult, a decision-intelligence company, found that 52% of Gen Z adults are frequent travelers — as in, they went on at least three leisure trips in the past year.
But how can that be true if Gen Zers are hesitant to take vacation time? Lindsey Roeschke, a travel and hospitality analyst with Morning Consult, says it all has to do with when Gen Zers hit the road — meaning it may be over a long holiday weekend instead of a fully dedicated week of travel.
Roeschke also told MarketWatch that by virtue of being so immersed in social media and the broader digital world, Gen Zers are apt to be more open to travel and more savvy about finding bargains when they do decide to go on vacation.
“The internet has inspired some of that wanderlust,” she said of the Gen Z approach.
Anders of LinkedIn doesn’t dispute the idea that, despite the Gen Z reluctance to take time off from work, this is a generation ready to explore — within the confines of the time they have.
“Gen Z is able to do that 48-hour to 72-hour adventure as well as anyone,” he said.