Quiet hiring, the newly coined term for the practice of either hiring contract workers or asking existing employees to take on new or additional tasks, is making headlines.
Amid an uncertain economy, this is one tactic that companies may be using to weather the storm.
In January, ResumeBuilder.com surveyed 1,000 U.S. business leaders at companies with at least 50 employees to find out how many are currently “quiet hiring,” or will be soon.
- 57% of companies have had layoffs in the past 3 months; 56% say they plan to lay off employees in the next 6 months.
- 37% of companies with recent layoffs are hiring contractors to replace laid off workers
- 62% of businesses recently asked employees to take on new roles within the organization; 10% say employees weren’t given additional training
- 66% asked employees to take on additional work; 5% of companies doubled employees’ workloads
- 53% asked full-time employees to move to a contract position
- 34% have cut salaries in the past 3 months; nearly 1 in 10 reduced ALL employees’ salaries
4 in 10 companies are hiring contractors to replace laid off workers
In the past three months, 57% of companies have had layoffs, and in the next six months, 56% plan to lay off employees.
Despite many having or anticipating layoffs, 37% of all companies are currently hiring for contract positions. In fact, companies that recently experienced layoffs are more likely to be hiring contract workers (46% vs. 21%).
Of companies who are hiring contract workers, 78% say they are hiring for more contract positions now than previous years. The majority of business leaders (71%) say the reason they are hiring contractors is, at least in part, to save money.
For companies hiring contract workers that experienced layoffs in the past three months, 80% say contractors will do work that had been done by employees who were laid off in the past three months.
53% of companies asked full-time employees to move to a contract position
In the past three months, more than half of companies (53%) moved full-time workers to contract positions. Additionally, 37% say they asked employees to move from full-time to part-time.
It seems this trend will continue. In the next six months, 52% of business leaders say full-time employees will be asked to move to a contract position, while 40% say employees will be asked to go from full-time to part-time.
According to Stacie Haller, Chief Career Advisor at ResumeBuilder.com, the use of contract workers is common in uncertain times.
“The practice of hiring contract workers has been used to weather economic conditions for over 50 years,” says Haller. “It gives a company a more nimble workforce without the impact of layoffs.”
It also allows companies to adjust their priorities while saving additional labor costs. Once their strategic plan is in place and their finances allow, with contract workers, companies have the flexibility to decide when to invest in any chosen position on a permanent basis. It also helps companies maintain a good reputation as they are still looking to retain their employees in some form rather than terminating them.”
Moving full time to a contract can benefit an employee as well. The employees would then have a cushion should they decide to seek another full time position.”
62% have asked employees to take on new roles within the organization
In the past three months, 62% of companies have had employees take on new roles.
A minority (10%) did not offer these employees additional training, while the vast majority (87%) did. However, 11% weren’t given any additional compensation.
In the next six months, the same number of business leaders (62%) say employees will be asked to take on a new role.
Two-thirds of companies have asked employees to take on additional work
While some employees are being asked to take on new roles, others are having to pick up additional work.
In the past three months, 66% of companies have asked employees to work more.
The plurality (48%) are having employees do 25% more than their normal workload, while 5% say employees have been asked to do at least twice as much work.
While 82% of companies say employees were compensated for the additional work, 14% say workers did not receive additional compensation.
In the next six months, 59% of companies will either continue to ask or start to ask workers to take on additional work.
“Although it may be better than being laid off, asking employees to work more, especially without additional compensation, can fuel dissatisfaction and burnout,” says Haller.
It’s likely that those who are asked to do more work without additional compensation will find it intolerable and seek other employment. If the additional work is compensated, and may even provide additional skills and experience for the employee, it can be a benefit for some. However, for others, especially if one’s workload is being increased substantially, being compensated for the additional time may not make the experience tolerable. Companies need to be aware of this or there could be risks to the business.”
In the past, companies may have been able to retain workers even if they asked them to do more for no additional pay, but today that isn’t the case. Employees will surely view this as ill treatment and take steps to seek better opportunities, where they are valued and can maintain work-life balance.”
One-third of companies have cut salaries in the past 3 months
Business leaders also revealed that their organizations have reduced employees’ salaries in the past three months. More than one-third (34%) say their organization has cut salaries for at least some employees.
Of companies who say they’ve cut salaries, the plurality (32%) reduced 25% of employees’ salaries, and 18% of companies reduced less than 10% of employees’ salaries.
However, 25% of business leaders say they reduced half of employees’ salaries at their company, while 16% say 75% of employees’ salaries were reduced, and 9% say all employees’ salaries were cut.
All data found within this report derives from a survey commissioned by ResumeBuilder.com and conducted online by survey platform Pollfish on January 11, 2023. In total, 1,000 U.S. business leaders at companies with more than 50 employees were surveyed.
Appropriate respondents were found through demographic criteria settings, including age (25+), number of employees (50+), employment status (employed for wages, self-employed), and organizational role (C-level executive, owner or partner, director, president/CEO/chairperson, senior management).
This survey utilizes a convenience sampling method.
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