Nearly one in five contractors in the UK take fewer than 10 days holiday per year, with a further 46 per cent 'enjoying' between 10 and 20 days off per annum. The figures, from accountancy firm Giant, also show that only 35 per cent of contractors reward themselves with more than 20 days annual leave. The typical figure for permanent workers is around 25 days off. Matthew Brown, managing director of Giant, said in a statement: "Unlike employees, contractors do not have paid holidays and often prefer to maximise their income rather than taking unpaid leave, particularly when they have financial commitments. The results suggest that the uncertain market may have intensified this trend." According to the survey, contractors aren't slacking when they are at work, with nearly a third putting in between 40 and 50 hours per week at their keyboards. But despite a combination of long hours and short holidays, more than half of contractors are satisfied with their work-life balance Brown said: "A third of contractors want to retire before they are 50, which might explain the motivation behind such a strong work ethic." Giant also discovered that contractors are also failing to invest in a pension, possibly because of the current difficulties in the UK pension market. Only 50 per cent currently contribute to a pension plan. Brown added: "There will always be some individuals who are simply not interested in pensions, but wiser counsel should prevail." Giant polled 2,000 IT contractors in the UK.