Productivity can stagnate recruiter alert: 40% of young workers promise to ‘make their salary’ and do ‘the minimum’

Nearly half of workers under 30 say they only intend to do the ‘minimum’ of their job description if their salary or progression remains unchanged – according to new research by recruiter Robert Walters.

The new phenomenon – called ‘silent quitting’ – is seeing young professionals performing only the basics of their role, ensuring that they don’t bring more initiatives or improvements to the job.

Toby Fowlston – CEO of global recruitment consultancy Robert Walters comments:

“This behavior is not something entirely new – there have always been less motivated individuals in the workplace. However, the real concern here is that, unlike the few workers who tend to be consciously less productive at work – “quietly giving up” is often a subconscious act generated by frustrations with the workplace.

“It’s easy for managers to pull their employees down for lack of productivity, but unless they get to the bottom of ‘why’ their motivation has dropped, then silent firing can become a silent move that has a detrimental effect on companies’ productivity. . and profitability”.

Young workers ‘acting their pay’

According to recruiter Robert Walters, the main reason workers under 30 choose to “quietly quit” is pay.

While we’ve seen a record year of pay raises – with those moving to a new employer getting +25% pay raises and those staying at their current company getting +10-15% raises – this is nowhere near +54%. increase in domestic energy bills seen in April 2022 and the 80% increase we are anticipating in October.

The inability of wages to match the cost of living is creating a culture of younger workers ‘playing your pay’ – younger workers suddenly feel very underpaid for their role due to rising costs and inflation and therefore, some are refusing to do more outside the parameters of their job description.

Toby adds: “In all cases of economic hardship, it is the young workers who are paid the lowest who feel the financial burden most. Their lack of experience – further exasperated by the pandemic – puts them in a much weaker position than their older, more experienced counterparts when trying to negotiate higher salaries.

“Employers will be unable to raise wages at the same rate of inflation – that’s a fact, so this is where softer perks and benefits really have a chance to make a difference. Increasingly, we are seeing utility vouchers, travel cards and streaming subscriptions being offered to potential employees.”

Remote work a breeding ground for quiet dropouts

When interviewing managers, more than half feel that they are taking on more workload due to the drop in productivity of younger workers.

According to the survey, 39% of managers say that hybrid and remote work makes it difficult to measure their team’s results – with a further 24% saying that the flexibility to choose different work patterns and schedules means there is no universal indicator for productivity, making it easier for ‘silent dropouts’ to go unnoticed.

Toby comments: “Quiet quitting creates a real imbalance in the team – where engaged workers will find they are having to take the time off or deal with a lack of production from their disengaged colleagues. This, in turn, will deplete or frustrate workers who are going the extra mile to deliver high output.

“Business leaders cannot allow ‘quiet giving up’ to become the norm – accountability is a central part of it. If ‘silent dropouts’ are benefiting from being ‘out of sight, out of mind’, employers should not hesitate to make more face-to-face time in the office mandatory.

“As much as we learned new ways to work in the pandemic, we also had great work habits before Covid. These more traditional structures and systems should not be overlooked.”

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