Millennials faced with later retirements seeking mid-life sabbaticals

Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Airport

As millennials face up to the idea of a career ultramarathon stretching into their 70s and beyond, research from Gatwick Airport has revealed that more people than ever are seeking ways in which to take their foot off the accelerator and re-charge their batteries; with those in engineering (44%), finance (28%) and hospitality (27%) most likely to need to take a career break.

With an increasing number of Britain’s ‘Gen Y’ professionals taking early career sabbaticals to travel across the globe, more than a quarter (26 per cent) of career breakers said they didn’t like the idea of working continuously until they retired, while the same number said they needed to get away because of the stress of work.

The increasing flexibility of modern attitudes to work, coupled with the perceived stresses of building a career mean that millennials are six times more likely to take mid-career breaks than previous generations.

Almost two thirds (60%) of 25-39 year olds said they either have taken or will take an extended break from work before they turn 40. This compares to only 9% of previous generations (those over 40) who opted to do so.

Those who decide to redress their work:life balance, must then face up to the prospect of funding their break, with a fifth (21 per cent) saving for a year in order to afford the trip, with 10 per cent saving for two years.

Workers are determined to make the most of their time off, with the average cost of a sabbatical standing at £4,003 across an average length break of three months and four days.

Ten per cent decide to go all out and spend over £9,000 as they invest in some well-earned R&R, and while almost three quarters (71 per cent) will finance their break themselves, 14 per cent will ask their partner for support and 12 per cent will ask for cash from the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’.

Most millennials that jet off on their travels look to travel beyond Europe, with 82 per cent saying that they either travelled or plan to travel to a long-haul destination, and if money was no object, over three quarters (78 per cent) would prefer to travel long-haul on their breaks.

The U.S.A. and Australia top the table for sabbatical-takers, with 27% saying they have either visited or plan to visit the States and Oz when on their travels. New Zealand (16 per cent), the Caribbean (15 per cent) and Canada (15 per cent) follow closely behind, while there are still those who prefer to spend their time off closer to home with 15 and 14 per cent visiting Spain and Italy respectively.

Top sabbatical destinations:

U.S.A (27 per cent)

Australia (27 per cent)

New Zealand (16 per cent)

Caribbean (15 per cent)

Canada (15 per cent)

Spain (15 per cent)

Italy (14 per cent)

Thailand (12 per cent)

Japan (12 per cent)

Brazil (10 per cent)

A third (35 per cent) of Gen Y professionals get away for one-two months and a fifth for two-three months (19 per cent). A lucky one in 10 (10 per cent) get away for four-six months.

Just over a fifth (22 per cent) decide they want to get away from both everything and everyone by travelling solo, and over half (52 per cent) claim they would consider a complete change by moving to one of the countries they visited on their break permanently.

The idea of a ‘job for life’ and working hours of 9-5 are increasingly foreign concepts to younger workers, meaning the idea of resigning in order to go on holiday is a more attractive one. Almost a third (29%) of those taking (or wanting) sabbaticals said they either have quit or plan to quit their job to allow them to do so.

Stephen King, Head of Airline Relations, Gatwick Airport, said: “This research demonstrates that more people than ever are investing significant time and money into their career breaks. The extended break from work is being used an opportunity to travel extensively in long haul destinations, something people don’t necessarily feel like they have the time to do during a one or two week holiday.

“This trend is evident at Gatwick as we are seeing an increasing number of passengers using our growing long-haul network which now boasts over 60 long-haul routes across the globe.”