Fancy an extra five days off? Irish employers are backing the idea

95% of bosses believe expanding holiday leave would boost staff productivity

New research shows that the overwhelming majority of Irish employers believe more holidays would equal more productivity.

A CPL survey of 273 employers last month found that 95% of senior managers would back the idea of an extra five days of annual leave for their staff.

CPL's Peter Cosgrove told High Noon:

"One of the trends we've seen recently is that people are working longer hours, as in they're in the office more, but they're actually not more productive. So I think employers are realising that one way to hopefully make them more productive is give them time off. So when they are actually at their desk, they're working at full capacity."

"People work 260 days a year," he continued. "The difference between 20 and 25 days off is actually not very much. The amount of time people spend in work not working is incredible.

"So the reality is, firstly, making them work more days doesn't make them more productive, it just makes them sit at their desk more. Makes them 'present'."

Cosgrove also noted the correlation between people taking more sick days when they had less holiday entitlements, meaning that an increase in leave should result in fewer employees calling in sick:

"The reality is people decide 'well I need a few more days anyway' and they work out a way to do it."

He added that employers are realising adding extra days off "doesn't cost them anything so if people can do the exact same job in a year or a month with a few more holidays, it's actually great for the employer and it's great for the employee."

Persistent presenteeism

Despite employers now understanding how taking holidays helps reduce stress and prevent burnout, over 80% of the Irish population still fail to take their full annual leave.

The recruitment firm argues that the onus is on employers to actively encourage their staff to take breaks if they want more productive, energised workers.

Employers remain resistant to out-of-office hours. The study found that 64% believe people are less productive when they work from home.

This is at odds with numerous studies showing that when it comes to benefits, employees cherish flexible working the most.

Presenteeism remains an important criterion for measuring productivity, CPL says, despite mounting proof that this is counterproductive. 

Career opportunities

The findings came as part of quarterly economic market monitor, which measures changes in employment opportunities.

The rate of growth in job listings strengthened to 14% in the first quarter of the year, having been 10% or lower throughout 2016.

Of the four sectors covered, the strongest growth for the fourth quarter in a row was in accountancy, finance & banking, at 60% year-on-year.

Growth was also strong in science, engineering & supply chain (19%). In IT, there was an annual decline of 19%, the third fall in a row, while in sales & marketing, there was a year-on-year decline of 7%, the first since 2014.

Commenting on the report, Trinity College Dublin economist Ronan Lyons said:

“The figures from early 2017 show strong growth in jobs posted in the key sectors listed.

"Not only is this the 21st consecutive quarter of year-on-year growth, the 14% rate of growth is the highest in over two years. This is driven in part by the financial services sector. As Brexit becomes a reality, it will be interesting to note if this trend continues.”