Quiet quitting: how hard do Britons say they’re working?

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
September 08, 2022, 1:05 PM GMT+0

There are big generational differences in attitudes towards how much effort workers should give their employers

The latest new workplace trend has hit the media: “quiet quitting”. Despite the name, the term does not actually refer to a form of quitting, but rather making the decision to no longer go above and beyond at work, and instead just fulfil the standard requirements of the job.

Following a viral TikTok post from user @zkchillin, which kickstarted the current debate, much has been made in the press about the phenomenon, although experts interviewed on the subject are keen to point out this is a decades-old concept given a fresh name.

Now a new YouGov poll asks British workers how much effort they are putting into their jobs, and whether workers should be expected to give 110%.

Only 3% of workers describe themselves as “largely checked out, doing the bare minimum I need to keep my job without being fired”. Depending on your personal interpretation of what constitutes quiet quitting – it is used differently by different sources – another 17% say “I am putting in an adequate amount of effort, I am neither trying hard nor coasting”.

Workers are most likely to say they are “trying hard, putting in a decent effort”, at 42%, while a third (35%) claim to be giving it all they’ve got: “I am putting in maximum effort, consistently going above and beyond what is required of me”.

There is a marked generational difference in the effort people are devoting to their jobs, with younger people notably less likely to say they are going the extra mile than their elders.

While all age groups are about as likely to say they are putting in “a decent effort” (39-46%), the over 50s are far more likely to say they are giving “maximum effort” (40-43%) than those in their 30s and 40s (31-33%) and the under-30s (22%).

This reflects attitudes among the younger generation that a worker’s obligations to their employer go no further than the work they are paid for, while older Britons belief workers should always try to go above and beyond.

Fully two thirds (67%) of workers aged 18-29 say that “employees should only do the work they are paid for – no more, no less”, with only 22% instead agreeing that “employees should always try to go above and beyond at work”. Those in their 30s and 40s also back the notion that workers should calibrate their effort to their specific responsibilities, while those in their 50s are divided 43% to 44%. Among those workers in their 60s, however, there is a clear view that workers should go above and beyond (54%) than just do only what they are expected (35%).

While the differences in opinion by age are most striking, men and women take differing views as well. Female workers are notably more likely to say they are putting in “maximum effort” at work than their male counterparts (39% vs 29%), with men being more likely to say they are putting in adequate effort or less (24% vs 15%).

Likewise, while women are divided on whether workers should or should not go the extra mile (41% vs 43%), men are more obviously inclined towards the latter, by 51% to 38%.

See the full results here

Photo: Getty

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