5th Annual Expedia Vacation Deprivation Survey: Ipsos Survey

1 in 3 Canadian Workers Vacation-Deprived Rates Highest in BC, Alberta, and Ontario; Lowest in Quebec

May 17, 2007, Toronto, ON – The Fifth Annual Expedia.ca Vacation Deprivation Survey conducted by Ipsos Reid finds that one-third (36%) of employed Canadians would diagnose themselves as “Vacation-Deprived” and while one in three (34%) would say they are less Vacation-Deprived than they were five years ago, two-thirds feel more (27%) or just as (40%) Vacation-Deprived as they did five years ago.

Two in ten (21%) employed Canadians are “giving days back” to their employer and, on average, employed Canadians, as a whole, are giving back a total of 2 vacation days each; on par with last year’s findings. Regionally, Quebec workers are consistently the least deprived: Just 15% are giving days back to their bosses and 25% would characterize themselves as Vacation-Deprived. Comparatively, four in ten workers in BC (43%), Alberta (41%), and Ontario (40%) are self-described as Vacation-Deprived. Accordingly, workers in these provinces are more apt to feel they are more Vacation-Deprived than five years ago: 34% in BC, 28% in Alberta, and 31% in Ontario (versus 17% in Quebec).

There are many reasons why Canadian workers may not take all of the vacation days they are entitled to, these include trading days in for money (12%), not making plans far enough in advance (11%), and/or being too busy at work (11%).

Most (55%) employed Canadians come back from vacation feeling rested, rejuvenated, and reconnected to their personal life and many (43%) feel more productive and better about their job. Yet, bad habits still prevail: 34% regularly work more than 40 hours a week, 18% have cancelled/postponed a vacation because of work, and 18% check their work messages while on vacation.

Moreover, while nearly all (93%) believe they are fully entitled to all of their vacation days and 75% say their employer encourages them to use all of their vacation time, many have trouble coping with stress during the vacation cycle (30%) or feel guilty about taking time off (28%). Do technological advancements like Blackberries, PDAs, Pocket PCs, webmail, or cell phones make it easier? It’s a tough call. Four in ten (41%) say it makes no difference, 36% say it makes it harder to get away, and 23% say it makes it easier.

These are the findings of an online Ipsos Reid/Expedia.ca study conducted from April 5-10, 2007. For the survey, a representative, randomly selected sample of 2,222 employed Canadian adults was polled. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within � 2.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had this population been polled.* The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were weighted to ensure the sample’s regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to Census data.

*Questions 1-2 were asked April 20-23, 2007 among a sample of 2,822 employed Canadian adults, resulting in a margin of error of +/- 1.8%.

Vacation Deprivation Rates

One-third (36%) of employed Canadians would diagnose themselves as “Vacation-Deprived”

  • Regionally, Quebec workers (25%) are least likely to describe themselves as Vacation-Deprived, while those in BC (43%), Alberta (41%), and Ontario (40%) are most likely to feel this way.
  • Self-assessed Vacation Deprivation levels decrease with age: 47% among young adults vs. 34% of middle-aged adults vs. 26% of older adults.
  • Self-employed Canadians are more likely to feel deprived (41% vs. 35% of others).

While one in three (34%) would say they are less Vacation-Deprived than they were five years ago, two-thirds feel more (27%) or just as (40%) Vacation-Deprived as they did five years ago.

  • Again, workers in BC (34%), Alberta (28%), and Ontario (31%) are more apt to feel they are more Vacation-Deprived than five years ago, while those in Quebec are more likely to feel less Vacation-Deprived (40%). Atlantic Canadians are also less likely to feel more deprived (22%),
  • Young adults are more likely to feel more Vacation-Deprived than those who are 35 or older (36% vs. 23%).

A calculation of the number of vacation days received versus the numbers of days taken finds that 21% of employed Canadians typically “give days back” to their employer and, on average, employed Canadians, as a whole, are giving back a total of 2 vacation days each; on par with last year’s findings.

  • Regionally, Quebec workers are consistently the least deprived: Just 15% are giving days back to their bosses.
  • Men are more likely than women to give days back (23% vs. 18%).
  • Full-time workers are more likely than others to give days back (25% vs. 12%).

Why Wouldn’t Canadians Use All of their Vacation Time?

There are many reasons why Canadian workers may not take all of the vacation days they are entitled to, these include trading days in for money (12%), not making plans far enough in advance (11%), and/or being too busy at work (11%).

  • Quebec workers are the least likely to say that their work is their life (4%).
  • Young adults are more likely to try to get money back (16% vs. 10%), to feel like they might miss something important (6% vs. 3%), or to fear that taking all of their time will be negatively perceived (5% vs. 2%).

Most (55%) employed Canadians come back from vacation feeling rested, rejuvenated, and reconnected to their personal life and many (43%) feel more productive and better about their job. Yet, bad habits still prevail: 34% regularly work more than 40 hours a week, 18% have
cancelled/postponed a vacation because of work, and 18% check their work messages while on vacation.

In addition, 5% of employed Canadians say their boss is not very supportive of employees taking time off from work.

  • Quebec workers are least likely to say that they check messages while on vacation (13%), that they have cancelled/postponed a vacation because of work (13%), or that there boss is not very supportive of employees taking time off (2%).
  • Full-time workers are more likely than others to return from vacation feeling rested and rejuvenated (58% vs. 49%), and/or better about their job (46% vs. 37%).

While nearly all (93%) believe they are fully entitled to all of their vacation days and 75% say their employer encourages them to use all of their vacation time, many have trouble coping with stress during the vacation cycle (30%) or feel guilty about taking time off (28%).

Additionally, 16% say that their employer discourages them from taking all of their vacation time.

  • Employed Quebecers are least likely to feel guilty about using all of their vacation days (18%).
  • Young adults are more likely to feel guilty about taking time off (37%vs. 24%) and to say that their employer discourages them from using all of their vacation days (21% vs. 13%).
  • Full-time workers are more likely to feel fully entitled to take all of their days (95% vs. 90%) and also to say that their employer encourages them to do so (77% vs. 69%).

Do Technological Advancements Make it Easier to Get Away?

Four in ten (41%) say it makes no difference, 36% say it makes it harder to get away, and 23% say it makes it easier.

  • Quebec workers are more likely to think it’s easier (29%).
  • Self-employed Canadians are more likely to think it’s easier (37% vs. 21%).
  • The propensity to think it’s harder decreases with age: 44% of young adults think so vs. 35% of middle-aged adults vs. 29% of older adults.

About Ipsos Reid

Ipsos Reid is Canada’s market intelligence leader, the country’s leading provider of public opinion research, and research partner for loyalty and forecasting and modelling insights.
With operations in eight cities, Ipsos Reid employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in the country, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and online panels. Ipsos Reid’s marketing research and public affairs practices offer the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada, all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, Ipsos Reid offers syndicated information or custom solutions across key sectors of the Canadian economy, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, automotive, retail, and technology & telecommunications. Ipsos Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group.

To learn more, please visit www.ipsos.ca.