I won’t ask you if you’ve heard of “quiet quitting.” I refuse. In the last half of 2022, the trending hashtag started a movement on TikTok that mysteriously went on and on like a bad case of food poisoning. Long after the topic had passed its expiration date, employment bloggers (including this one) continued writing about it, while the rest of the workforce debated whether quiet quitters were valiantly setting work/life boundaries or justifying their poor work ethic.
A few months later, “quiet firing” began trending, and we learned how the term had been applied to employers who intentionally mistreat or neglect employees in order to prompt them to quit. Now, even “quick quitting” has replaced “job hopping” in the online workplace vernacular. For all the drivel TikTok has churned out, suddenly the platform has become a powerful tool for employees, giving them a voice they’re using to let employers know the tables have turned.
As we head into the fourth year the world has lived with the coronavirus, the workforce shows no signs of returning to its pre-pandemic state. Regardless of how much some employers would like it to, the job market is too strong, and qualified candidates are in too high demand. But if the past year is any indication, we may very well see more catchy hashtags in the near future. After all, if we can’t control workplace trends, we can at least watch them go viral. Let’s look at a few possibilities.
In 2021, 47 million people quit their jobs in what we now know as the Great Resignation (one of the few trending terms that bores us even more than quiet quitting). Many expected these employees to come rushing back to the workforce in 2022, but it hasn’t happened. Instead, the resignations have continued, and though the pace has slowed, it’s done little to help employers who have faced an uphill battle restaffing their businesses in order to stay productive and profitable over the past two years.
Many employers are now faced with a difficult decision – hire fast or close up shop. For some businesses, this means relaxing their hiring requirements to accommodate a dwindling candidate pool. For others, it means not being able to provide the level of customer service they have in the past. And for nearly all, it means increased turnover rates as employees job hop their way to a higher income or better incentives offered by other employers desperate to fill roles.
More exiting and more hiring require more recruiting. But there are now nearly twice as many job openings in the U.S. as there are unemployed people, and the old “help wanted” sign doesn’t generate applications like it used to. This is where experienced recruiters and candidate sourcers will continue to prove their value to employers. As the strength of the current job market makes active recruiting (i.e., posting on job boards) less effective, employers will turn to the experts to passively recruit candidates who are currently employed in order to fill roles that once filled themselves.
More and more employers are now realizing what GM recently learned the hard way – try to get employees to return to a pre-pandemic work model and they’ll object…loudly. Insist that they return and watch them run for the door. Employees have been working remotely or hybrid for almost three years now. During that time, they have stayed productive, enjoyed the perks of a commute-free lifestyle, and prioritized work/life balance. Employers are awakening to the fact that the “new norm” is now the old routine, and those who disregard employees’ needs will soon find them working for competitors.
None of these trends are new (at least not since the pandemic), but then neither is quiet quitting, which was known for years as employee disengagement. Regardless of what happens to the job market in the near future, two facts remain: people will continue to consume news through social media, and catchy, memorable hashtags make it a little more palatable and easier to follow and share. Will the next few months bring an #UnemploymentExodus, a #JobSeekerSurge, a #GreatRestaffing? Keep an eye on trending topics to find out!