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PTO Requests Hit Four-Year High

BambooHR, the leading cloud-based human resource platform where everything works together, has released its first Workforce Insights Report, which finds that January 2024 had the highest percentage of employees making paid time off (PTO) requests since the beginning of 2019. The data—pulled from the BambooHR platform—also shows that the average number of employee performance reviews in companies is increasing annually and hiring is now outpacing turnover. 

“As people leaders, we’re constantly trying to stay ahead of workforce trends that might impact the business we work in,” says Brad Rencher, CEO of BambooHR. “However, some of the most common metrics published like unemployment rates and labor participation rates don’t always provide the insights we need to make informed decisions in our day-to-day work. The report is BambooHR’s monthly deep dive on millions of employee data points captured in our platform across the globe. We want to give HR leaders and organizations a deeper understanding of the factors impacting their most valuable asset—their people.”  

While a higher proportion of employees are asking for PTO every year, PTO approvals aren’t keeping pace, leaving a wider gap of unapproved time off.  

  • January 2024 has the highest percentage (56%) of PTO requests in the last four years. 
  • Employee PTO requests have increased 11% annually since 2019, while approvals are only increasing 9% annually. 
  • On average, 37% of employees make a PTO request every month, with around half (49%) of requests being approved. But, in 2023, 44% of employees made PTO requests. 
  • The industry with the highest proportion of PTO requests to employees in February was finance, followed by nonprofits, with more than half of employees requesting PTO. Restaurant and food and beverage ranked last for PTO requests.  
  • Maine and Oklahoma are the top U.S. states for PTO requests, while Puerto Rico and Utah have top approvals while being lowest for PTO requests. 

The number of employee reviews is increasing every year, but not all regions see the same volume. The U.S. has fewer reviews than its global counterparts but is trending higher.  

  • The average number of employee performance reviews is increasing by 15% annually. 
  • There were 28% more reviews done in January 2024 than in January 2023.  
  • Reviews consistently spike in the summer and winter, with the most manager and peer feedback completed between June and July and November through January.  
  • U.S. employees receive fewer peer reviews than in other countries, with five peer reviews for every manager review in the U.S. compared to an average of 17 in other countries.  

Layoffs have made headlines for more than a year, but hiring and job openings are now outpacing turnover in 2024.  

  • Global turnover has decreased by 25% from February 2023 to February 2024. 
  • At the end of 2023, turnover topped hiring, but from December 2023 to February 2024, hiring increased by 27% and job openings by 54%, the highest since last March. 
  • Every industry has a higher proportion of hires than turnover, though in the tech industry, they are nearly equivalent with only a 7% difference. 

“This data tells me employees value work-life balance and direct feedback more than ever before,” says Anita Grantham, head of HR at BambooHR. “Managers looking to retain talent will need to take a closer look at what staffing needs they have and if increasing PTO and performance feedback is possible. The workforce isn’t shy about asking for these things. I think we’ll only see this trend continue and organizations will have to increasingly embrace those values to attract the new generations entering the workforce.”  

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