"Quiet quitters" make up at least 50% of the U.S. workforce -- probably more, Gallup finds.
The trend toward quiet quitting -- the idea spreading virally on social media that millions of people are not going above and beyond at work and just meeting their job description -- could get worse. This is a problem because most jobs today require some level of extra effort to collaborate with coworkers and meet customer needs.
U.S. employee engagement took another step backward during the second quarter of 2022, with the proportion of engaged workers remaining at 32% but the proportion of actively disengaged increasing to 18%. The ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees is now 1.8 to 1, the lowest in almost a decade.
The drop in engagement began in the second half of 2021 and was concurrent with the rise in job resignations. Managers, among others, experienced the greatest drop.
The overall decline was especially related to clarity of expectations, opportunities to learn and grow, feeling cared about, and a connection to the organization's mission or purpose -- signaling a growing disconnect between employees and their employers.
Many quiet quitters fit Gallup's definition of being "not engaged" at work -- people who do the minimum required and are psychologically detached from their job. This describes half of the U.S. workforce.
Everyone else is either engaged (32%) or actively disengaged (18%). The latter are "loud quitters." Actively disengaged employees tend to have most of their workplace needs unmet and spread their dissatisfaction -- they have been the most vocal in TikTok posts that have generated millions of views and comments.
Most employees who are not engaged or actively disengaged are already looking for another job.
The Workplace Has Gotten Worse for Younger Employees
Gallup finds a decline in engagement and employer satisfaction among remote Gen Z and younger millennials -- those below age 35.
This is a significant change from pre-pandemic years. Since the pandemic, younger workers have declined significantly in feeling cared about and having opportunities to develop -- primarily from their manager.
These younger employee advantages have mostly disappeared.
- The percentage of engaged employees under the age of 35 dropped by six percentage points from 2019 to 2022. And during the same time, the percentage of actively disengaged employees increased by six points.
- Younger workers have dropped 10 or more points in the percentage who strongly agree that someone cares about them, someone encourages their development, and they have opportunities to learn and grow.
- Fully remote and hybrid young workers dropped 12 points in strong agreement that someone encourages their development.
- Disturbingly, less than four in 10 young remote or hybrid employees clearly know what is expected of them at work.