First came “quiet quitting,” then “quiet firing.” Now a new phenomenon is taking the workforce by storm, and it’s called “quick quitting.” It’s a term that refers to unhappy U.S. workers being more comfortable leaving their new jobs rather than waiting a year or more to make a change. Analysis from LinkedIn’s Economic Graph team shows that the short tenure rate, which measures the fraction of positions held for less than 12 months, has increased over the last several years. The study also revealed that workers are spending less time at each job in industries that are more traditionally white-collar, like tech, financial services and professional services, which mostly consist of accounting and consulting firms.
So, why are more people embracing quick quitting rather than sticking it out for at least a year? These insights will provide clarity around this important yet complex topic.
The need to offset inflation
Inflation, rising interest rates, high gas prices and widespread recession concerns are all causing workers to seek out higher-paying jobs. Although many employees received a pay raise this year, most salary increases couldn’t keep pace with the current inflation rate. In addition, rising gas prices are causing commuters to look for remote positions or at least jobs with shorter commutes. According to Joblist’s latest U.S. Job Market Report, 80% of job seekers believe the U.S. is headed towards a recession in the next year, and 49% predict that the job market will worsen over the next six months. As a result, 60% of job seekers feel more urgency to find a new role sooner rather than later.
Strong labor market
While we read about layoffs in the news almost daily, they are usually on a small scale. The labor market is still strong, as evidenced by unemployment claims near historic lows. There were also 11.2 million job openings at the end of July—approximately two jobs for every unemployed person. In other words, it’s a tight labor market which means job hunters have the upper hand with access to a wide variety of opportunities. That’s another reason quick quitting has become much more common.
If we learned anything from the pandemic, it’s how critical our physical and mental health is. As a result, there’s been a major shift in people’s values and priorities. Workers are much less likely to put up with poor management or an unhealthy work-life balance, resulting in quick quitting. A recent MIT Sloan Management Review report revealed that many employees left their jobs because of toxic workplace culture. In fact, a toxic corporate culture is the strongest predictor of industry-adjusted attrition and is ten times more important than compensation in predicting turnover.
The desire for flexibility
If you ask the average worker what one of the biggest “upsides” of the pandemic was, it’s flexible work. A new report by ADP Research Institute indicated that two-thirds of the workforce would consider looking for a new job if required to return to the office full-time. In addition, most people enjoy the flexibility of working remotely, at least part of the time. Not only does it offer more autonomy, but it’s also, in most cases, more cost-effective. That’s a significant benefit when living with inflation and skyrocketing gas prices.
Less stigma around short stints
As the world of work has undergone overwhelming change, the perception of short job stints has changed. The unwritten rule was that one should stay in a role for at least a year or more. But it’s not uncommon for someone to leave sooner. The key is to explain why in a way that won’t put off a prospective employer. For example, if you discover that you aren’t a cultural fit, need a more challenging role or want to learn new skills, those are all reasonable explanations for wanting to move on to something new.
There’s no question that workers have the upper hand and are willing to compromise to enjoy the flexibility and fulfillment they deserve. To combat quick quitting, it’s up to employers to stop being so short-sighted and reward their workforce with pay raises, competitive benefits and a culture that fosters integrity, honesty and authenticity. Only then will you be able to cultivate the level of company loyalty that makes people want to do their best work and keep coming back for more.