Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
WORK-LIFE BALANCE / JAN. 08, 2014
version 6, draft 6

38 is the Ideal Age to Take a Sabbatical

travel to  italy

Taking a sabbatical from the stresses and strains of working life, is advised to be done at the age of 38 according to a Hilton HHonors study. Researchers found as you approach your forties, this is the time when you are financially secure and established enough in your career that you can afford to take an extended break, but young enough to still do everything you want.

The study of 2.000 British workers has revealed that 81% of the population think the ‘adult gap years’ are better later in life once you have established yourself within your career and don’t need to worry about taking a step away for a while.

Sabbatical is not a Feasible Option for Most Employees

While seven in ten workers dream of being able to take a long period of time off work at some point in their future, just one in twenty think they will actually have a good chance of doing so.

Instead, 70% are trying to cram everything they want to do into their annual leave because they don’t believe they will ever get to enjoy anything longer than a couple of weeks off work in one go.

A spokesman for Hilton HHonors noted that: "We understand that sometimes an extended break isn’t always feasible...But we believe that by planning ahead and really thinking about activities you want to do, it is possible to achieve sabbatical type experiences within existing annual leave...Our research has shown many workers would choose a European travel destination for a sabbatical, with popular choices including France, Italy and Spain. One in ten would also opt to travel around the UK rather than abroad”.

Reasons Why Workers Would Like to Take a Sabbatical

One in ten workers even said they have plans to take one at some point in the next year or so, while six in ten would like to in the future, but don’t have any real plans in place.

- Those planning a sabbatical say they would like to take an average of six weeks off, with a desire to go travelling and see the world the top reason for the extended leave.

- Another 31% would like a sabbatical because they feel they are too stressed at work, while three in ten want more time to spend with their family.

- Other reasons for wanting the longer period of time off work include being bored at work, not enjoying their job and wanting to do more than they can squeeze into a normal week long or fortnight holiday.

- Some even want to spend the time volunteering, trying out other job opportunities or trying to gain further experience in their current line of work.

- One in four think they would be more productive at work following an extended period of time off work, while another 22% think they would return more enthusiastic about their job.

Companies Offering Sabbaticals

In the corporate world, sabbaticals have been relatively rare. According to the Society of Human Resource Management, paid sabbatical programs are offered only at 5% of U.S. companies. In the U.S. nearly 25% of the employers on Fortune’s 100 Best list offer paid sabbaticals. Among these are the DreamWorks Animation, Adobe, Intel, American Express, Microsoft and Deloitte.

In the UK, department store chain John Lewis Partnership offers one of the most generous sabbatical schemes – or “long leave” as it is known in the partnership – among UK employers. The scheme has been running for more than 30 years, and rewards partners who have more than 25 years’ service the opportunity to take up to 26 weeks’ fully paid leave. While some employers stipulate that a sabbatical should incorporate some form of professional development, at John Lewis employees are able to use this time as they wish.

The perfect age to take a sabbatical is 38 as workers generally feel financially secure, well-established in their career but are still young enough to enjoy the break. It provides benefits to employers and employees. With employees able to combat the monotony of work, discover new interests and develop themselves. After all a happy workforce is a productive workforce.

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