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BLOG: Who stole your holiday, dude?

Zafar Anjum | Nov. 19, 2012
A survey says Singaporeans are most ‘vacation deprived’ and that the world’s most demanding bosses are right here in Asia.

Have you heard of something called 'vacation deprivation'? I have heard of sleep deprivation and vitamin deficiency but never before had I come across this concept called 'vacation deprivation'.

Well, one learns something new every day. Thankfully, it is not a medical condition. I mean, this 'vacation deprivation' thing.

Expedia, an online travel agency, has come out with a study exactly on this condition. They call it the Expedia's 2012 Vacation Deprivation Study.

The study has found something startling about Singaporeans. Now, read carefully.

The Expedia study shows that almost half of Singaporeans (well, 41 percent to be exact) either cancelled or postponed their well-deserved time-off due to work commitments, and close to 19 percent reported they're unable to plan their vacation in advance as it depends on their work schedule.

Oh! What a catastrophe!

To add insult to injury, the study finds that the world's most demanding bosses are right here in Asia.

According to Expedia, Singaporean bosses are in the global top 10 for their unsupportive nature towards employees taking time off for vacation. How is that!

But Singaporeans are not alone in sharing this misery. The situation is not very rosy in other parts of Asia. The 2012 study spans across Asia, Australia, North America, Europe and South America, and compares vacationing habits and attitudes of over 8,500 employees across 22 countries including Taiwan, Malaysia, India, Japan and South Korea.

Asians are work-bound and vacation deprived

The study has shown that Asia represents the world's most vacation-deprived region, with employees continuing to take the fewest days off and working the longest weeks.

Are you surprised? I don't think so. I think you already know it. You feel the tiredness in your bones, right?

Anyway, let's face the facts: Japanese and Korean workers trail the field with the average Japanese worker taking only five out of the 13 days off granted each year and South Koreans take seven out of a possible 10 vacation days.

Now, how about working hours? Good question. Asian employees also work the longest weeks with Korean, Singaporean and Taiwanese workers clocking in a staggering average of 44 hours a week, according to the survey.

Actually, Indians, who are usually the laggards in many fields, take a place of pride in this survey. Twenty-four percent of employees in India receive positive affirmation from their bosses for taking days off.

The case is the worst for Singaporeans. "Pressure from the top is one of the biggest contributing factors to Singaporeans failing to take all their annual leave, resulting in many rolling over vacation days to the following year," according to the survey.

What is worrying is that 11 percent of Singaporeans surveyed actually indicated that 'work is life' for them and 14 percent were under the impression that taking a vacation would trigger negative sentiments in the workplace.


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