At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
A Pew Research Center survey published earlier this year revealed a surprising contradiction among the participants: the overwhelming majority of American workers greatly value their paid time off, yet many of them are leaving vacation days unused, for a variety of reasons.
The "How Americans View Their Jobs" survey asked 5,188 Americans who work either part-time or full-time (and are not self-employed) about their experiences and views of the workplace. One of the most interesting findings was that although 62% of workers said it was "extremely important" and 27% said it was "very important" to have a job with paid time off (including vacation days and time off for illness and doctor's visits), nearly half (46%) take less paid time off than they are offered.
So what's stopping them? According to the Pew survey, which allowed respondents to give multiple reasons, 52% of those workers don't feel they need more time off, while 49% worry about falling behind due to an absence. Another significant factor is not wanting to burden co-workers (43%). Interestingly, worrying about lessened prospects for career advancement (19%) and fears of losing one's job (16%) are less common reasons. Additionally, 12% said that they had been discouraged from using their paid time off by a manager or supervisor.
How Americans view their jobs:
- Among other findings, 39% of part-time and full-time workers (not self-employed) said that their job was either extremely or very important to their overall identity.
- According to the survey, just over half of workers are extremely or very satisfied with their job and day-to-day tasks. Significant majorities are extremely or very satisfied with their relationships with their co-workers (67%) and their supervisor (62%), though only around a third of workers are extremely or very satisfied with their pay and opportunities for promotion.
- Half of workers find their job enjoyable all or most of their time, while 47% find it fulfilling all or most of the time. Twenty-nine percent find their job stressful all or most of the time, with 52% finding it stressful some of the time.