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The quiet quitter's perspective: How and why employees are 'quiet quitting'

The quiet quitter's perspective: How and why employees are 'quiet quitting'


A majority of those who thought of themselves as quiet quitters were those working in business and finance (99%). 

Quiet quitting — just one of the many phenomenons that took over the working world this year.

As defined by Investopedia, quiet quitting generally refers to doing the minimum requirements of one's job and putting in no more time, effort, or enthusiasm than absolutely necessary. Particularly, this seems to be more significant in the younger generation of employees.

For a better understanding of this trend shaping our future workforce, LiveCareer surveyed over 1,000 employees to investigate opinions on quiet quitting. 

*Note: While this survey was conducted across respondents from the US, HRO believes the findings would be applicable to the wider audience in Asia.

To start off, the survey asked whether respondents would consider themselves as quiet quitters, to which 94% agreed. A majority of those who thought of themselves as quiet quitters were those working in business and finance (99%). Conversely, the smallest group of quiet quitters were survey-takers with work experience of over 11 years (85%).

The survey also looked into how respondents personally defined quiet quitting. The results were as follows:

  • Creating healthy boundaries (45%),
  • Giving up work (41%),
  • Doing only the required minimum at work (39%),
  • Prioritising private life over career (32%),
  • Rejecting extra job duties (21%).

While more than eight in 10 (84%) respondents agreed quiet quitting has made them rethink their relationship with work, there were some disparities in answers given by people from different demographic groups. Quiet quitting was noted to have a greater influence on some than on others:

  • Company's size: 501+ employees (76%) vs. 1-50 employees (85%)
  • Annual personal income: less US$25,000 (80%) vs. US$75,000 and greater (88%)
  • Form of work: remote (80%) vs. on-site (87%)
  • Race: ethnic minorities (78%) vs. white (85%)
  • Age: 25 or younger (80%) vs. 41+ (86%)

Is quiet quitting really all that quiet indeed?

When asked whether they were open about being a quiet quitter, almost nine in 10 (88%) respondents concealed the fact that they were quiet quitters. The number is even higher when it comes to respondents employed in business and finance (94%). On the other hand, 12% of the surveyed claimed they were open about being a quiet quitter.

Colleagues' perspectives: How does it feel to work with quiet quitters? 

From colleagues' perspective, 87% of respondents indicated they have colleagues who show quiet quitting behaviour, while 70% claimed they had criticised someone for quiet quitting behaviour. It applied mainly to 82% of people working in small companies (1-50 employees).

Interestingly, criticising quiet quitters was less common (60%) among respondents from big companies (501 employees or more). Meanwhile, almost half (49%) of respondents with the greatest work experience (11 years or more) declared they hadn't criticised their colleagues for quiet quitting behavior. This group of survey takers was also least likely (47%) to report a colleague to management if they were a quiet quitter.

Further, 74% of respondents had seen a manager criticise someone for quiet quitting behaviour. The highest percentage of positive answers (85%) came from those with an annual personal income of US$$25,000 or less.

Overall, 68% of all respondents declared they'd report quiet quitting to the boss.

Three-quarters of employees (75%) believed that quiet quitting negatively impacted workplace productivity. Employees from the business and finance industry (86%) were even more in favour of this opinion, while the percentage dropped to 70% in the software/IT sector.

Respondents generally preferred not to work with quiet quitters:

  • I'd prefer to work with colleagues who are quiet quitters (35%),
  • I'd prefer to work with colleagues who go above and beyond their assigned duties (38%),
  • I prefer neither, it doesn't make any difference to me whether my colleagues are quiet quitters or not (27%).

Finally, 82% of research participants considered quiet quitting as a new phenomenon, while 18% believed it was just the way people had always worked.

The importance of work-life balance

Almost nine in 10 (87%) respondents viewed setting crystal-clear work-life boundaries as one of their priorities. This was especially important for employees working in the manufacturing (94%) and business and finance (92%) industries.

Respondents were also asked about their overall priorities:

  • Mental health is more important than work to me (94%)
  • Physical health is more important than work to me (91%)
  • Family is more important than work to me (91%)
  • Friends are more important than work to me (82%)
  • Leisure activities are more important than work to me (70%)

Specifically, 99% of the healthcare industry respondents valued mental health more than work.

Attitudes toward family and friends seemed to change with respondents' age. Participants aged 25 or younger claimed family (84%) and friends (76%) were more important than work to them. When it came to older respondents (aged 41 or more), the percentage rose to 93% in the case of prioritising family over career and to 84% in the case of friends.

The working culture of today

Looking at the bigger picture, the study dug deeper on the culture of work — almost eight in 10 (78%) respondents believe we should reject the "hustle culture mentality".

In general, respondents viewed people as too focused on their careers (87%), with 85% also believing that we should spend more time with our families. Half of respondents (50% ) believed that people should work more, 16% that they should work less, and 34% that they should work the same as they do now.

Going above and beyond

Even amidst the quiet quitting trend, as many as 85% of respondents claimed to work more than is "officially" required by their job role.

When asked exactly what they always and/or often did outside working hours, respondents indicated as follows:

  • Checking work emails (46%),
  • Picking up work phone (54%),
  • Working (85%).

Additionally, younger people (aged 25 or less) were most likely to check work emails outside working hours (57%). 

The top three groups of respondents working more than required were:

  • Employees of the business & finance industry (93%)
  • Employees of the manufacturing industry (91%)
  • Employees of the healthcare industry (90%) 

For better context, respondents also indicated approximately how much time per week they spent working outside official working hours: 

  • One–three hours (11%)
  • Four–five hours (38%)
  • Six–eight hours (45%)
  • Nine hours or more (6%)

Finally, respondents shared why they personally work more than required:

  • I love my work (40%)
  • My work is my passion (33%)
  • Because of money (27%)
  • Because of my ambition (21%)
  • My life situation forces me to work more than required. (18%)
  • Because of a chance of promotion (16%)
  • I am afraid of losing a job (10%)
  • I don't feel lonely when I work (9%)
  • Other (2%)

All images / Making Noise for Quiet Quitting | 2022 Study

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