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Quiet hiring: The latest work trend

Career experts say there are a few reasons for its resurgence — including recession concerns and companies wanting to do more with less.
Posted at 7:31 PM, Feb 27, 2023

From quiet quitting to quiet firing — the American workplace is in flux.  

So-called quiet hiring sees employers having needs and not hiring somebody new to fill them, but using workers already on the payroll instead. 

Sometimes employees are moved from one job assignment or department to another. But workplace experts, like management professor Anthony Nyberg, say it’s a new name for a revived practice. 

"Quiet hiring really is just about organizations putting people in a place that will optimize their performance, theirs being both the organization and the individual. And that has been going on as long as we've had organizations," Nyberg said. 

Career experts say there are a few reasons for its resurgence — including recession concerns, companies wanting to do more with less, and talent shortages.  

"Now we hear about maybe some companies are not hiring or they are hiring, and they have new positions, but they realize that their current talent pool could be viable for other positions internally or if they want to prevent layoffs," Nyberg said.  

There’s also a familiarity factor as companies seek the comfort of proven employees. 

"Internal movers understand the culture better, can fit in better, etc. And so this should ultimately help companies compete better in the marketplace to the extent that they can create this better match in the organization between the skills that they already have and the places where they need these employees in order to drive business success," Nyberg said. 

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But how do workers feel about it?  Scripps News spoke to Vicki Salemi, career expert with job search website Monster.

She says while feelings are mixed, most workers are not too high on it. 

"So, 80% of respondents in Monster's recent poll said they had been quiet hired. However, half of the respondents said the new role that they're assigned to are not aligned with their skill sets. And one quarter of respondents said, 'you know what? I'm underqualified for my new role.' However, on the other side of the coin, 70% of respondents in Monster's recent poll said this is an opportunity to try new things," Salemi said. 

Salemi says another setback for employees is they don’t feel they have a choice when it comes to taking on new tasks. 

"I think some people are seeing this as a negative because it's not like they raised their hand and said, 'this is something I want to gain a new skill and this is where I want to redirect my career,' that they're being told rather than having a dialog," Salemi said.  

But can common ground be reached on quiet hiring?  

"This can be a great opportunity for employees, but requires strong communication and helping employees understand why this is beneficial for both them and the organization. Companies that don't do that as well, their employees are likely to feel like this is in some ways picking on them or otherwise exploiting them," Salemi said.  

It means workers and employers who speak up could make the most of quiet-hiring.