Of course, not everybody is buying it. (Remember that 32% of the engaged workforce?) But quiet quitting seems particularly endemic among younger millennials and Gen Z (the under-35 crowd), according to the Gallup poll.
The natural question then is why. Why are younger employees so dissatisfied and disengaged when working conditions are arguably better than ever with remote work and companies that are trying to be better corporate citizens?
That answer is complicated.
“Many factors have brought this together,” Johnson says. In her view, the following events have all contributed in some way to quiet quitting:
- Generational changes: Five generations are currently coexisting in the workplace, which is a historic first. There’s bound to be some friction.
- The pandemic: The pandemic upended traditional notions of how and where we work while simultaneously causing a lot of people to rethink their life’s priorities.
- Economy: During and after the pandemic, the job market favored employees, meaning it was easy to find a new job if you were fired or skate by in your current job with minimal effort because replacing you was hard to do.
“We just went through an ending,” Johnson explains. “We went through a major loss of who we were, what we did and how we did it.”
And Gen Z was watching. “We have an upcoming generation who are digital masters of everything but, emotionally, their relationship and communication style has not developed in the same way as that of past generations,” Johnson explains. “You’re bringing together a collision of worlds that have to face each other now because we’re all in the workplace.”