1 in 4 of workers are ‘quiet quitting,’ saying no to hustle culture

Last year we had the ‘great resignation’ where employees were voluntarily leaving their jobs in droves in pursuit of opportunities they felt better suited them for financial, health, or other reasons. Now a new phenomenon has emerged in the workplace.

‘Quiet quitting’ is a recent trend that refers to employees just doing the bare minimum at work, instead of going above and beyond for their employer.

In August, ResumeBuilder.com surveyed 1,000 working Americans to understand the pervasiveness of ‘quit quitting.’ Read on to learn what we found.

Key findings:

  • 21% of workers are ‘quit quitting’ saying they only do the bare minimum; 5% do even less than what they’re paid to do
  • 8 in 10 ‘quiet quitters’ are burned out
  • 1 in 10 employees are putting in less effort than 6 months ago; half say this hasn’t gone unnoticed
  • 1 in 3 who have reduced effort have cut back hour spent working by more than 50%
  • 9 in 10 ‘quiet quitters’ could be incentivized to work harder

26% of workers admit they do the bare minimum or less

Although most workers (74%) are going above and beyond what’s required of them and doing more than they are paid to do, a number of employees are saying no to this type of ‘hustle culture’.

Twenty-one percent of workers are ‘quiet quitting,’ choosing to put in only the bare minimum and just doing what they are paid to do. Additionally,  5% say they actually do less than what’s required of them.

Workers who are likely somewhere in the middle of their career, those ages 35-44, are most likely to be ‘quiet quitters,’ with 24% of this group saying they don’t do more than what’s expected of them. On the flip side, only 17% of 18-24 year olds, 18% of 45-54 year olds, and 7% of those over 54 say the same.

Furthermore, men, across age groups, are less likely to be overachievers at work. Men and women are ‘quiet quitting’ at a similar rate (22% and 20% respectively), but more than twice as many men (7%) as women (3%) say they do even less than what’s required of them.

Why aren’t employees putting their absolute best foot forward? Well, when it comes to ‘quiet quitters,’ the plurality (46%) don’t want to do more work than they’re compensated to do. They also don’t go above and beyond because it would compromise their mental health and work-life balance. Additionally, many don’t feel that working harder will pay off.

Career strategist and coach Stacie Haller explains why many employees are simply unwilling to go the extra mile.

“The pandemic shifted many people’s attitude toward work. Some employees no longer feel connected to their work or workplace and have a much stronger desire to focus their attention on their families and personal lives. With this shift in priorities, you see less willingness to engage in ‘hustle culture.’”

8 in 10 ‘quiet quitters’ are burned out, less satisfied than overachievers

Overall, 3 in 4 workers say they are burned out. But burnout is actually higher among those who are choosing not to exceed their employers expectations.

Eight-three percent of those who do the bare minimum, and 88% of those who do less than they’re supposed to do, say they are ‘definitely’ or ‘somewhat burned out’ compared to 71% of overachievers.

When asked about their stress-level, ‘quiet quitters’ didn’t report a lower stress level than those who overachieve. Both groups on average said that on a scale of 1-10  (1 being not at all stressed and 10 being very stressed) they were at a 6.

However, ‘quiet quitters’ did report being slightly less happy. On average, ‘quiet quitters’ said they were at a 6 and over-achievers at an 8 on a scale of 1-10 (1 being not happy at all and 10 being very happy).

Haller says this could be because ‘quiet quitting’ can be self-defeating.

“When someone is feeling stuck and unhappy with their current job situation, they’re likely not going to have an interest in going above and beyond at work,” she says. “But ‘quiet quitting’ isn’t productive. It would be better for disenchanted employees to speak with their managers about how to improve their current situation or to work with a job search coach to start looking for a more exciting opportunity.”

1 in 3 who have reduced effort have cut back hours by more than 50%

Compared to six months ago, 10% percent of employees, regardless of whether they meet, exceed, or fall short of expectations, have reduced the amount of effort they put into their work.

The least engaged workers are remote workers with 12% reporting putting in less effort now. For hybrid workers, 8% reduced their efforts as have 10% of on-site workers.

Many employees aren’t hustling nearly as hard as they previously were. Previously, the vast majority were working 40 hours or more. Now, one-third have cut the amount of hours they work a week by more than 50%.

The top reason employees are putting in less effort is they want to improve or protect their mental health. There is also a desire to prevent or combat burnout and maintain or achieve a better work-life balance.

Half say slacking off hasn’t gone unnoticed

The majority (52%) of those who have reduced their efforts say their employer has ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ noticed that they’ve been putting in less effort.

Even among those who continue to go above and beyond, 29% say their employer is likely aware they’ve taken a step back.

For those who say their employer has taken notice, 73% say it will be harder to advance, and 65% are putting themselves at risk of getting fired. Of those who believe this is a real risk, 97% say it would be ‘very’ or ‘a little concerning’ to lose their job.

“Employees are aware their lack of effort shows, but the risk of getting fired isn’t motivating them to change their behavior,” says Haller.

“Employers should focus on re-engaging their workforce by making meaningful changes to their culture. This is what will help motivate employees to continue to strive for more.”

91% of ‘quiet quitters’ say they could motivated to work harder

Another way employers can re-engage their employees is by giving them more of what they want. The vast majority (91%) of those who are just doing the bare minimum say they could be motivated to do more.

Employees say they would be incentivized by more money (75%), more paid time off (48%), better health care (40%), and more.

Methodology

All data found within this report derives from a survey commissioned by Intelligent.com and conducted online by survey platform Pollfish. In total, 1,000 employed, adult Americans were surveyed.

Appropriate respondents were found via employment status demographic criteria. This survey was conducted on August 17, 2022. All respondents were asked to answer all questions truthfully and to the best of their abilities. For full survey data, please email Content Marketing Manager Julia Morrissey at [email protected]