The Real Reasons For Quiet Quitting

The Real Reasons For Quiet Quitting

Read Time: 8 Minutes


09 May 2023

The Great Resignation, The Big Quit, The Great Reshuffle. Call it whatever you like! Since Covid-19 struck the UK hindering most of us by working from home, being put on furlough or in some unfortunate situations, being made redundant, there has been a huge shift in what employees need and want from their employer.

We wanted to uncover exactly what it is that attracts and retains employees as well as what it takes to push them to move elsewhere. We quizzed over 1,000 UK office workers to dive into how many times employees have moved jobs, the weird ways they’ve quit and if the side hustle is the new 9 to 5.


To job hop or stay put

For some, switching jobs is fun. Not everyone likes to be tied to the same business, industry or even role for a long period of time. For others, staying loyal to their employer, especially after a few years of job uncertainty is their preferred option. When surveyed, our respondents revealed that in the last three years they moved jobs:

• 1 time - 31.91%
• 2 times - 32.11%
• 3 times - 24.59%
• 4 times - 4.27%
• 5+ times - 0.81%
• I haven't moved jobs - 6.30%

Younger employees are notorious for being branded the job-hopping generation, with those close to retirement usually sticking it out for the final few years in the same job. Our data showed that under 18s or Gen X, moved on average around 4 times in the last 3 years. 52% of 18-24-year-olds moved jobs 1 time whereas 39% of 45-55-year-olds moved 3 times. Unsurprisingly, all 65+-year-old respondents shared that they hadn’t moved jobs at all.


Is the gender pay gap still a problem?

With the job landscape offering more opportunities than ever, it’s never been more important for employers to adapt. We surveyed our respondents to find out what push factors have caused them to quit or consider quitting their job.

According to our survey, being underpaid or salary was the top contender. 32.52%, nearly a third, of respondents, ranked this as a reason why they have or would quit their job. A staggering 52.83%, half, of the women surveyed, shared that they have quit or would quit because they believe they were underpaid or that their salary didn’t reflect their job. Interestingly, 60% of women surveyed would also quit or have quit due to poor sickness and or maternity policies.

Following salary, childcare came in second with 24.95% of respondents ranking this as a reason to quit. It seems that working parents may not be getting the support they need. As the most likely age group to have children, or start thinking about having children, it’s no surprise that 64% of 25-34-year-olds ranked childcare as a reason to quit.


Getting from A to B

Location also had a lot to do with whether employees may be swayed into quitting their jobs.

Amidst the cost of living, we weren’t shocked to see that expenses such as parking, petrol and travel were a contender for 18.90% of respondents.

Moving house or location would also be enough for 16.67% of respondents to quit.

Travel time was also a popular choice with 14.43% of respondents wanting to avoid any extra hours on the roads or public transport, especially with train strikes taking place making it harder for those who don’t drive to get to work.

These are just some of the reasons why flexible working and working from home prove to be a priority for our respondents.


Toxic bosses

It seems that a toxic workplace can easily lead employees to quit or at least consider quitting.

21.75% of respondents shared that their boss would be enough to make them quit.

14.63% voted workplace bullying has been a reason to leave or think about leaving.

11.38% even shared that a toxic work environment has been enough to hand their notice in.

Fortunately, this number has dropped in recent years. Back in 2021, we surveyed 1,000 UK office workers and 55.8% of survey respondents told us a toxic work environment would be enough to make them switch jobs, although this number has dropped it's clear to see that toxic workplaces and bosses exist and are still drivers towards quitting.


Not important anymore

At the bottom of the quit list ranks:

• Senior Leadership and or Management at 9.35%
• Declining Industry at 6.30% and 
• Company Redundancies and or Job Security at 4.67%

Although a toxic work environment and a bad boss is enough to send employees packing, it seems that the industry, job security and leadership leaves them unphased.

With employees hopping roles, and the job market more bustling than ever before, the data and current climate suggests that employees are now the ones in control. Employees are less worried about job security knowing they kind find work elsewhere. A declining industry doesn’t matter when you have plenty more to choose from and management is no problem when you can just move!


Hybrid working is here to stay

After the Covid-19 pandemic, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that over a third, 31.91% of our respondents ranked working hours and or flexible working as an attractive feature to move jobs. 

Returning to the office and working a 9-5 simply won’t cut it anymore. 25.61% of respondents would also move jobs to be able to work remotely and or from home.



On the money

Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom. One of the main reasons employees are moving elsewhere is not because their current work environment doesn’t meet their needs but because other companies are simply more attractive.

Salary ranks second for our respondents' reasons to move jobs. 29.07% of respondents would move jobs for a better salary and 27.85% would move just to receive a better and or different role and responsibilities. Although it’s a salary-hungry market, employees want to be pushed and try new things in their careers. Training and learning opportunities also ranked high with 23.58% stating that this would attract them to another job.

It seems that respondents also appreciate monetary gains for doing a good job. 21.95% would move for better rewards and or incentives and 13.82% would consider job hopping for commission and or bonus schemes.


Four-legged friends

16.26% of respondents shared that a pet-friendly office would tip them to move. Placing higher importance than team culture, it seems furry friends are preferred over our own colleagues.

56.25% of millennial respondents shared that they would happily move jobs if they were allowed to bring their pets. Compared to just 6.25% of 45-55-year-olds who are happy to work with a wagging tail at their desk.


What the generations want

Based on the feedback our respondents provided, we took a closer look at what is a top priority for the different generations when swapping jobs.

Gen Z and millennials shared similar choices. They both would move jobs to have flexible working and better hours as well as a better salary. Often first-time buyers, paying off uni debt and looking to start a family, a better salary is very important to them.

Gen X on the other hand reported wanting better and or different roles and responsibilities, childcare and the option to be able to work remotely and or from home if they were to quit their current job. Looking to advance their careers while balancing work and family.

Boomers shared that they would move for a better salary, maybe due to their years of experience and looking to earn a little more before retirement. As well as better and or different roles and responsibilities they would also move to be able to work remotely or from home.


Free tea and coffee are out

At the bottom of our job attractiveness list ranked private health care at 12.60%, free social events at 6.30% and free food and drink at 2.64%.

Although attractive for some, are these really ‘benefits’ or are they essentials that employees now require as a bare minimum? Pizza nights and free coffee are no longer of interest or going to stand out to employees looking for work elsewhere.



TikTok made me quit

When surveying respondents on what inspired them to take the step to quit their last job, 22.56% said friends and family. Of course, your nearest and dearest are some of the opinions that matter the most, especially when it comes to making big life decisions like changing jobs.

Social media influence, however, accounted for 13.21% of votes and 60% of those respondents were aged 25-34 compared to just 6% of 45 -54 year-olds. 

Now named #quittok, more and more millennials are quitting their jobs on live streams or sharing their stories and real experiences about how they handed their notice in. Our digital natives have grown up sharing their experiences online and that includes sharing snippets from their careers.

Totting up millions of views, TikTok has become a source of inspiration for those looking for a sign to quit or even tips on how to have difficult conversations with your manager or HR department. Is social media adding fuel to the great resignation fire?

@addison.jarman See comments for allllll the deets ✌? #quietquitting #addisontaughtme #fintok ♬ original sound - Addison Jarman



Say bye to the 9 to 5

Many people chose to start up projects or side hustles during the pandemic as a means to kill time indoors as well as make a little extra money.

A not-so-shocking 45.33% of our surveyed respondents shared that in the last 3 years, they have started their own business or side hustle and it is now their full-time occupation.

This was closely followed by 25.41% doing it on the side of another job, 6.71% who are in the process of setting up or launching and 2.03% who have at least thought about taking the plunge.

Is the great resignation and plethora of job openings due to employees going solo? It seems that being your own boss can certainly have plenty of advantages.


A quick departure

Our survey respondents shared that an admirable 59.96% worked their notice period for their last job. But that means that just over 40% did not.

21.75% of our respondents never worked their notice period. 2.44% only worked part of their notice period and 15.45% went on gardening leave.

Suspended on full pay during some or all of their notice period, gardening leave was popular amongst our respondents. Men were more likely to be put on gardening leave with 61.84% of respondents sharing they were placed on gardening leave for their last job compared to just 38.16% of women.

35-44-year-olds are the most likely to be put on gardening leave at 18.32% doing so in their last job where as 21.95% of 25-34-year-olds simply didn’t work their notice at all. It seems that the older generation more likely to stick it out to the end and be on hand for their employer should they need them compared to millennials who are more likely to be silent quitters.


Leave your message after the tone

Gone are the days of a standard resignation letter being handed to your manager in the office on a Monday morning. We asked our survey respondents when quitting a job (aside from a standard resignation or notice letter) if they did any of the following:

• Quit Via Text, Email, Call or Voicemail - 46.95%
• Walk Out of Your Workplace and Not Return - 28.86%
• Do a Bad Job on Purpose - 27.85%
• Not Return After Maternity or Paternity - 21.95%
• Rang in Sick and or Used Holidays -16.87%
• Ghost Your Employer or Manager - 14.63%

A whopping 46.95% of our survey respondents shared that they have previously quit a job via text, email, call or voicemail. 64.07% of these call quitters were aged 25-34. Not only are millennials not working their notice period and sharing their story on TikTok, but they’re also silent quitters who hand their notice in by modern means, online.

27.85% simply gave up trying, doing a bad job on purpose until they finished their notice period or got put on gardening leave.


Gone without a trace

Although quitting by text, email, call or voicemail can be easier than having a difficult face-to-face conversation, it hasn’t stopped some of our respondents from going further.

28.86% of respondents got up from their desks and never came back. Walking out of the workplace and not returning was the second most common way to quit. 

Interestingly, 14.79% of these respondents lived in London and 13.38% in the North West (Manchester). Could it be that the high-intensity corporate life in major cities is enough to warrant a walkout?

14.63% of respondents simply ghosted their employer. 56.94% of these ghosters were aged 25-34, although locked into the digital world, it seems that they may be able to put down their phone when they see their manager calling.

Will you be looking to change jobs any time soon? Quit in a weird way or started your own side hustle? Let us know your thoughts on social media by using #instantprintuk!


About the Author

Hi, I’m Ally and I’m instantprint’s PR Lead. I enjoy writing content to help small businesses succeed and inspire them to get creative with their print marketing.