Only 53% of professionals in the UK used their full annual leave allowance last year, according to a recent global survey of more than 1,700 professionals by recruitment consultancy Robert Walters.

The survey reveals that 23% of UK respondents took approximately 75 per cent of their holiday allowance, 6% took 50 per cent, 7% took 25 per cent and 11% took none.

However, the overall results demonstrate that people in the UK take more holiday than the rest of the world – globally, only 39% took all their annual leave allowance in 2010 and 15% took none.

Martyn Wright, Director of HR Recruitment at Robert Walters, says:

“With people returning to work in the last month or so following their summer holiday, it is interesting to note that few globally are taking their full annual leave allowance at the moment. This demonstrates that companies and, at a lower level, teams and departments are stretched and staff are having to work hard to cover existing workloads.”

“Job seekers regularly tell us that work-life balance is a key issue for them and it is often cited as one of the main motivations for changing roles. Despite challenging market conditions, there remains severe competition for the best people. Employers looking to differentiate themselves in a competitive market and attract top talent should therefore focus on selling any work-life balance initiatives in place. Organisations seeking to retain their star performers should also consider whether they are doing enough to offer work-life balance.”

Locations where a relatively large proportion of professionals took all their annual leave allowance in 2010 included Ireland (56%), Germany (56%), New Zealand (55% of professionals) and Belgium (53%). By contrast, few people working in the U.S. (24%), Australia (30%), Singapore (33%) and Brazil (33%) took all their holiday