Employers face a pre-Christmas exodus of staff as a quarter of workers still have more than 10 days holiday to take with only 21 working days left before the break, a survey has revealed.

The poll of more than 3,200 UK workers by recruitment website Monster.co.uk found that 24 per cent said they still have 10 days holiday, or more, left to take.

The public sector has the highest number of workers with a large proportion of holiday left, with 41 per cent having 10 or more days remaining this year. Workers in the defence and community industries also still had much of their holiday allocation left, with an average of seven days left to take. This situation may have been caused by workers wanting to appear indispensible at the office or workplace as impending sector job cuts loom.

In contrast, workers in the financial services industry have the least number of days left with just 14 per cent having 10 or more days. Staff in the accounting, audit and taxes industries were most likely to take their full holiday allocation with an average of four days left.

Isabelle Ratinaud, marketing director for the recruitment website, said: “One of the great benefits of a holiday is that it gives you a chance to recharge your batteries. It seems that British workers and their employers could be under-estimating the importance of this.

“With 21 working days left until Christmas, it’s pretty hard to imagine how employers will cope with almost a quarter of their staff taking 10 days of holiday. In situations like this it’s more than likely that employers will refuse holiday for the majority of late bookers, especially for long periods of time.”