Nearly half of millennials have taken an extended period of time off work as the majority of the UK workforce favours flexible working as the key to achieving a good work-life balance.
This was discovered by Fidelity International, an investment management services company, Modern Life Report, which found that 46 per cent of millennials have taken a substantial period of time off work and 55 per cent of people believing being able to work flexibly is important for their work-life balance.
The report found that over a third (35 per cent) or 2.5 million people from the UK’s workforce have taken at least two months off from working life. Out of this section, 22 per cent said they did so simply to take a break, while 20 per cent wanted to travel and 18 per cent for maternity/paternity leave.
However, some were forced in to this situation with 31 per cent being out of work due to illness and 27 per cent not being able to find a job.
This is in large contrast to millennials, with 42 per cent saying they traveled the world, 16 per cent try and find a new career, 13 per cent to focus on a hobby and 10 per cent to volunteer.
Just under a fifth (18 per cent) of employees believe taking such a period off work is vital to obtaining a work-life balance, with this number increasing to 24 per cent when you ask millennials.
Tom Stevenson, investment director for personal investing at Fidelity International said:
Our relationship with work is changing. The old idea of a fairly even split between childhood and education, work and retirement no longer reflects how we are living our lives. Sometimes a new reality is forced on people by redundancy or illness, but for a growing number, a more flexible approach to work is a positive choice. Never before have we enjoyed such a range of options for how, where and when to earn a living.
Technology is one key area of change. Many office-based workers can now work as effectively from home as in a traditional workplace. Indeed, many employers are increasingly encouraging people to do at least part of the week out of the office.
The speed of change is another factor. What we needed to know at the start of our career will more than likely be obsolete at the end of it or even just a decade or two later. Retraining or simply a change of direction is the reality for many. Those mid-career changes open up the opportunity for breaks along the way, perhaps to travel, to study or to care for a family member.
In order to gather these results, Fidelity surveyed 2,016 people in the UK on their views about modern life including their current circumstance, readiness for different life events and plans for the future. The research was carried out by Opinium, a market research consultancy in April 2019.
Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.