Staff eye ‘career break’ options

Most employees want to take a sabbatical

Nearly nine out of ten staff would like to have a career break lasting five months or more, despite having just returned from their holidays, a new survey suggests.

A new survey, conducted by business rescue specialists Begbies Traynor, found that the prospect of a ‘sabbatical’ was highly appealing to the majority of employees.

However, the survey’s authors say this isn’t necessarily bad news for Britain’s bosses.

The survey of over 160 full time employees found that employers that offered career breaks were more likely to retain their staff.

In fact, 66% of workers said they would be more loyal and would resist the temptation to ‘job hop’ if sabbaticals were part of company policy.

With retirement ages being extended, a large majority (85%) felt that most organisations will be inevitably forced to offer career breaks.

Currently, an estimated half of all employers provide some form of sabbatical or extended period of time off work.

But over two-thirds believe a three-month sabbatical for staff who have worked for an employer for five years or more should become standard practice. This figure rises to 72% among women.

Mark Fry, south-east managing partner of Begbies Traynor, said: “With more and more people taking a breather in their careers, it is vital for businesses to develop coping mechanisms to counter the loss of staff.

“In my long career dealing with troubled businesses, I’ve seen many firms struggle because key members of staff have left, albeit for different reasons.

“Owner managers should recognise the potential benefits of offering attractive career packages that include some form of sabbatical to their key employees.”

© Crimson Business Ltd 2006

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