Are Technologists Taking Full Advantage of Their Vacation Time?

Over the past year, technologists have been somewhat limited in what they could do with their vacation days and PTO. With many businesses shut down, and travel potentially risky due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many vacations turned into “staycations.”

Thanks to those limitations, many technologists neglected to use all of their vacation days. However, stepping away from work is vital if you want to recharge and ultimately operate at your best. How much paid vacation time do technologists usually get? We asked that question as part of the latest Dice Salary Survey—and thankfully, it’s clear that many technologists receive quite a bit:

This year, 24 percent of technologists said they had three weeks of paid vacation time, while 17 percent had four weeks, 9 percent had five weeks and 7 percent had unlimited days. That’s quite a bit. At the same time, it’s worth noting that 40 percent of technologists have two weeks or less of vacation time per year. 


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For many employers, offering substantial vacation days can help distinguish an employer brand. When there’s limited budget for salaries, additional vacation time is a particularly valuable incentive for attracting top talent, although not every company incorporates such a perk into their compensation packages. 

While many employers (75 percent) made no change to the vacation days offered amidst COVID-19, five percent of technologists said their company gave all employees additional unpaid time off; another 10 percent said their company offered additional paid time off. No doubt anxious to ensure that their employees unplug and recharge, employers also changed time off mandates during the year, with 9 percent of surveyed technologists stating that their company required employees to take a certain amount of time off in 2020 and 5 percent stating their company wanted them to use paid vacation days earlier than usual. 

But how much of that time are technologists actually using? Thirty-four percent of technologists said they planned to use all of their time off, compared to the 23 percent who said they would use more than half, and the 24 percent who would use less than half. Despite some companies offering more hours and encouraging employees to use them, many technologists simply aren’t taking full advantage of paid vacation, which can lead to burnout

Many employers are struggling to deal with the unused employee vacation dates that have piled up during the pandemic. Some firms have enacted policies allowing employees to roll over more unused vacation than in prior year, in some cases putting forth creative solutions like added “friend and family days,” early-out Fridays, and even having entire teams take time off simultaneously. 

While organizations in the tech space have led the way in these innovations, the drop in vacation usage is a significant risk to teams that businesses will need to pay attention to in 2021, as remote work and lockdowns remain in place in many areas. 


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