How Will Quiet Hiring Impact the Workforce in 2024?

Quiet hiring is a newer term used to describe a very commonplace practice in the corporate world. When a company chooses to lay off employees or decides not to hire extra people for a specific task or role, the workload is distributed to employees already in-house. This ideally, can bring about a round of promotions, or, in many cases increase responsibilities and workload for current employees without any change in their title or pay. 

Due to the recent uptick in layoffs making headlines across tech companies and beyond, this trend of quiet hiring will only become the norm. This is just one of the many trends affecting the workplace in 2023.

As companies with record growth and profits are still looking to meet their goals despite a self-inflicted decrease in manpower, the question comes up for many: Why would a company choose to hire from within in this way instead of hiring new employees or keeping on those who already work in needed positions? 

Benefits of Quiet Hiring for Employers

This decision, as with many that companies are making right now, usually brings a benefit to their bottom line. Whether they hired too many individuals, or their lofty goals didn’t go to plan after the demand of COVID died down, the decision of cutting back or preventing a future cost remains the same. 

With so much turnover in the last few years thanks to another buzzword – The Great Resignation – companies have experienced the hefty cost of filling new positions. Last year (2022) the United States saw an average of 42 days and between $2792 and $4425 to hire externally to keep headcounts where they wanted them. Choosing to hire from within and bring in people who already know the company and its practices is a no-brainer in this case. There are no costs in hiring a recruiter, or posting the job vacancy online, as well as paying benefits for another person. 

Quiet hiring also saves time. The gap between losing an employee due to layoffs or resignation and the next employee’s first day is completely eliminated or significantly reduced.

The lag time on projects ultimately costs money, and bringing in an existing employee on projects saves from having to train new hires and getting them up to speed on not only the business as well as their respective projects. This is especially attractive to companies that track profitability in terms of hours and minutes as well as dollars and cents. 

Benefits of Quiet Hiring for Employees

While employers see the benefits of discrete in-house hiring, employees can see benefits as well, if everything is executed properly. 

Not only can an employee’s job title see a meaningful boost when taking on new responsibilities, but their paycheck can see some improvement as well! This means employees will be more likely to stay at a company where they know their additional efforts are seen and rewarded, and their personal lives can benefit as well. 

Many people are struggling with meeting everyday costs due to inflation in recent months, as well as the expected challenges as they move through different phases of their lives. Marriage, children, moving and schooling, all add up and are often represented by a diverse workforce in any company. Many worry about their financial health and how their current standing may impact their ability to purchase a house or a vehicle in the coming months due to unexpected circumstances, or even careful budgeting. 

Quiet hiring can boost morale for employees as well, as they see so many of their friends and family losing their jobs to mass layoffs. When their loyalty is rewarded with commensurate salaries and job titles, their minds can be put at ease to an extent many employers underestimate.

Workplace trauma can include unpredictable or toxic work environments or an ongoing state of uncertainty over one’s job security. By making it known that their position is secure and following through with that promise, employers can significantly improve an employee’s mental health. 

Challenges of Quiet Hiring

Unfortunately, the benefits of quiet hiring remain to be seen for many employees who are getting swamped with their workload without compensation negotiations or career growth opportunities. While quiet hiring helps employers meet their bottom line for the time being, it will only prompt employees to look elsewhere for companies that will see their value as more than a number and as a person who deserves recognition and may desperately need the money that comes with appropriate compensation in a difficult job market. 

This lack of communication and transparency between employer and employee quickly erodes trust. Even if a raise eventually comes, but does not meet the market expectations of that role, or their job title remains the same, the turnover that was so carefully avoided is now inevitable.

This type of treatment of one’s employees also builds a reputation that many employees are more likely to speak out about on LinkedIn and Glassdoor, among other platforms. 

In conclusion, the trend of quiet hiring has both benefits and challenges. It is a great way to open up new opportunities, particularly for those who are not actively searching, and to remove traditional, structural biases.

But it can be extremely difficult for those who see little to no personal or career improvement when employers use it as a quick way of saving money instead of making significant investments in their growth.

Quiet hiring has the power to impact the workforce in both a negative and positive way, making it something to carefully consider going forward. 

This blog was originally contributed to Workplace Fairness on March 8, 2023. Published with permission.

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Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa es estudiante de tercer año en la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Siracusa. Se licenció en Periodismo en Penn State. Con su investigación jurídica y la redacción de Workplace Fairness, se esfuerza por dotar a las personas de la información que necesitan para ser su mejor defensor.