The impact of annual leave on recruitment: Are you giving your staff enough time off?

Phil Kendall

Jun 2022 ⋅ 3 min read

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Competition for staff is fierce right now, particularly in industries such as care, retail, and hospitality.

Salary matters, but there’s another very important factor that can have a big impact on any employer’s recruitment success rate: the amount of annual leave they offer to their staff.

A surprising statistic

In a recent RotaCloud survey, we asked 2,000 people to tell us how important the amount of annual leave on offer is to them when deciding whether or not to take on a job.

Their answer? A whopping 58% responded by saying that annual leave was either "the most important factor" (11%) or "very important" (47%) when deciding whether or not to take a job offer.

Clearly, the amount of paid time off you offer your staff can make all the difference when it comes to recruitment, so employers would be wise to check that their employment offering is competitive.

Annual leave by industry

At this point, you’re probably wondering where your business ranks on the scale of annual leave generosity.

By law, UK employers must offer their full-time staff a minimum of 28 days’ leave per year, including bank holidays. But the amount of leave offered by employers varies noticeably from one sector to another.

RotaCloud user data suggests that most employers offer their staff anything from 32 days’ annual leave up to just over 35 days per year.

Industry/sector Avg. days leave allowance
Assisted living 30.6
Call Centre 32.0
Catering/Events 31.3
Cleaning Services 31.8
Dental Practice 30.5
Entertainment 35.6
Healthcare/Medical/Hospital 35.0
Hotel/Resorts 29.5
IT 32.8
Leisure/Recreation 30.6
Non-profit/Volunteer/Charities 36.1
Optical 32.9
Other Hospitality 30.8
Professional Services 32.5
Quick Food Service 31.3
Restaurant/Bar/Club/Pub 29.8
Retail - Online/Ecommerce 33.2
Retail - Store 31.3
Software/Technology 33.6
Transportation 33.1
Veterinary and Animal Care 30.7

Source: RotaCloud user data

It's worth mentioning that these are, of course, averages — within each sector, there will be employers who offer far more, or far fewer days off to their staff.

Available leave vs. leave taken

Whether staff actually make use of all their annual leave is another matter entirely.

In fact, RotaCloud data shows that, despite the average full-time working Brit receiving 32 days' annual leave each year, surprisingly few staff make use of all their full allowance.

Staff who work in restaurants, bars, clubs and pubs, for example, take shockingly few days off, with the average employee using just 16.4 days of their annual leave per year.

Call centres didn't fare much better, with their staff taking just 19.5 days’ holiday last year.

In third place is hotel and resort staff with 21.9 days, closely followed by those in the leisure industry with 22.9. Clearly, taking time off is more difficult in some industries than others.

Even so, with 58% of respondents to our survey saying that the amount of annual leave on offer is one of — if not the most important factor — when it comes to deciding whether or not to accept a job offer, employers would be advised to pay close attention to how much holiday their competitors, not to mention other local businesses, are offering if they want to attract the top talent to their business.

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