Shifting Views of Travel and Big Life Plans Could Change How You Hire PeopleToday's workers have very different ideas about life's big priorities, like buying a house, and delay them in favor of more travel. Businesses that don't adapt to these new priorities may miss out on talented potential hires.


The most challenging days of the pandemic are behind us, but its aftereffects continue to shape our world. For many, this has led to a re-evaluation of what’s important in life, including their work and the energy they dedicate to their employers. A new survey reveals that one significant outcome of these pandemic aftershocks in the workforce is an increased desire to take time off to travel. Younger Americans, in particular, are so eager to vacation that they are postponing major life decisions and even incurring debt to do so. This shift in priorities could impact your business if you are trying to attract younger customers, and it may also influence how you approach your own staff’s working hours.

The data from this survey, conducted by financial services company Empower and reported by Fortune, shows that over 90% of respondents plan to travel domestically this year. Additionally, 33% are not waiting until retirement to “see the world”—they are doing it now. Financially, 47% of people say they will spend more on travel this year compared to last year. Remarkably, one in five Millennials are delaying large purchases, such as homes, to spend money on travel instead.

Most workers, 61%, plan to travel in the summer, while 34% will travel during off-season periods, and 24% will travel for birthdays. These latter types of trips are more likely to affect regular work schedules as they do not align with typical vacation times. In particular, 28% of Gen-Z employees are more likely to travel for their birthdays than older generations, and a quarter of Gen-Z staff prefer to plan trips with less than four weeks’ notice, making spontaneous time-off requests more common among younger employees.

Christie Hudson, head of public relations at Expedia, noted that a significant number of respondents from a recent Expedia survey plan to travel “no matter what” this year. She observed a widespread shift in values post-pandemic, with people prioritizing experiences over material possessions.

This trend is occurring amid ongoing economic stress due to inflation and a rise in “quiet vacationing”—where remote workers travel while continuing to work without informing their employers, as they do not want to appear lazy or cannot afford to take time off. 

Traditional U.S. employers might find the idea of more vacation time and flexible vacation policies challenging, particularly those enforcing strict back-to-office rules. However, Empower’s data indicates that employees of all ages are planning more vacations. Younger workers, who already dislike the traditional workplace grind, are keen on spontaneous travel and are willing to postpone significant life events to do so. To attract and retain these employees, it may be worth revisiting your company’s PTO policy.

An Ernst & Young study supports this approach, showing that for every additional 10 hours of vacation time an employee takes, their year-end performance improves by 8%. Another survey revealed that employees who utilize all their vacation time are more likely to receive raises or promotions. To attract new, younger workers, showcasing a more generous vacation policy and relaxed summer work hours could be beneficial in recruitment and retention efforts.

These insights might be worth considering as you enjoy the upcoming long weekend and the fireworks.  

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