One in four people are planning to take a break from work in the next year, often to do charity work or achieve a lifetime goal such as climbing in the Himalayas, a survey showed today.
A poll of 1,200 adults by Norwich Union reveals that almost one in five of those aiming to have a career break will not return to their job, creating a huge replacement bill for UK businesses.
The trend looks set to send stress levels soaring in workplaces across the UK, with seven in 10 of those polled admitting that simply covering colleagues’ two-week holidays will leave them struggling to cope this summer, said the report.
Travel or spending more time with family remain popular reasons for career breaks, but over three quarters said more colleagues were taking time out to do charity or volunteer work.
Simon Quick of Norwich Union said: "People today are thinking beyond the standard two-week beach holiday, and instead demanding the time and opportunity to learn new skills, chase adventure or give something back with volunteer work.
"In fact, three in four believe employers should now offer career breaks as standard. But it’s important to recognise that a sabbatical is not just a long holiday - it’s crucial that career breakers plan carefully for how they will support themselves financially in what is likely to be the first time in their working lives without a salary coming in."
Judith Brodie, director of international development charity VSO UK, added: "At VSO we’ve seen a real change in attitude to sabbaticals over the years, and this is not something that’s going to go away.
"As we move further away from the traditional idea of the linear career path there seems to be a growing acceptance that allowing your staff time to develop their skills and widen their experiences outside of the workplace is good for business."