Work to live or live to work? No need to decide.
There’s a perfect compromise: quiet quitting. In a nutshell, you do what you have to do to fulfill job duties. And nothing more.
On the one hand, this thought-provoking concept riffs on various aspects of work-life balance. On the other, it also touches a nerve.
Thanks to Gen Z, quiet quitting — first referenced on TikTok—has gone viral, generating not only memes but also serious public debates. Why has doing the bare minimum at work become global? Does quiet quitting make a convenient cover for laziness and lack of ambition? Can we actually draw the line between professional and personal life?
Is quiet quitting a real thing or just another buzzword no one will care about soon? High time to find out.
At LiveCareer, we surveyed over 1,000 employees to investigate opinions on quiet quitting. Let’s discover what our study revealed about:
- Scale of the phenomenon in question
- Consequences of becoming a quiet quitter
- Perceptions of quiet quitters as colleagues
- Role of work-life balance and setting boundaries
- Going above and beyond at work vs. doing only the required minimum
Before you immerse yourself in reading research findings, familiarize yourself with the idea of quiet quitting.
First things first. What does quiet quitting really mean?
Quiet quitting refers to doing the minimum requirements of one’s job and putting in no more time, effort, or enthusiasm than absolutely necessary. As such, it is something of a misnomer, since the worker doesn’t actually leave their position and continues to collect a salary.
In fact, we’re still creating a definition around quiet quitting. It’s a broad term that includes:
- Quitting the idea of going above and beyond at work
- No longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentality
- Emotional detachment from work, leaving work-related stress and worry behind
- Prioritizing mental health and family over career
- Setting crystal-clear boundaries between professional and private life
- wWorking smarter instead of working harder
As you can see, quiet quitting is a multilayered issue.
What’s also worth noting is that quiet quitting is not the first social movement that arises from a desire to live a healthier and more balanced life. It’s been compared to lying flat, a movement which gained prominence in China in 2021. Experts believe that both labor market trends in question may be linked to a noticeable fall in job satisfaction influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Let’s move on. It’s high time to find out what LiveCareer’s study revealed on this burning issue.
Quiet quitting in practice
Let’s get straight to the point. To start with, we asked respondents if they considered themselves quiet quitters. A full 94% agreed.
Quiet quitters come in all ages and colors. Male and female. From all life paths, educational backgrounds, and industries. The highest percentage of respondents viewing themselves as quiet quitters were those working in business and finance (99%). Conversely, the smallest group of quiet quitters were survey-takers with work experience of over 11 years (85%).
According to a Gallup survey from June 2022, quiet quitters “make up at least 50% of the US workforce—probably more”. Our study conducted four months later leaves no doubt that the trend in question is growing.
These numbers might seem high. But there’s a good reason for that. Anonymity.
Our survey was completely anonymous. Few people in a work-worshiping culture will admit to being quiet quitters, but let them speak with anonymity, and the truth emerges.
And key to that truth is that tired, overworked, burnt-out employees need to see an actual change.
Digging deeper, we wanted to investigate how our respondents personally defined quiet quitting. The results were as follows:
- Creating healthy boundaries — 45%
- Giving up work — 41%
- Doing only the required minimum at work — 39%
- Prioritizing private life over career — 32%
- Rejecting extra job duties — 21%
Even if we’re not all quiet quitting, the idea in question sends a big signal about work. It provokes discussions about unhealthy focus on work that interferes with personal life.
We also asked the survey takers if quiet quitting had made them rethink their relationship with work. More than 8 in 10 (84%) respondents agreed. Still, there were some disparities in answers given by people from different demographic groups. It turns out that the concept of quiet quitting has a greater influence on some than on others. Just have a look:
- Company’s size: 501+ employees — 76% vs. 1-50 employees — 85%.
- Annual personal income: less $25 000 — 80% vs. $75 000 and greater — 88%.
- Form of work: remote — 80% vs. onsite — 87%.
- Race: ethnic minorities — 78% vs. white — 85%.
- Age: 25 or younger — 80% vs. 41+ — 86%.
Employees of small companies, with the highest earnings, working onsite, white, and aged 41 or more. These respondents found quiet quitting especially thought-provoking.
Now, let’s check if quiet quitters are all that quiet indeed.
We asked, “Are you open about being a quiet quitter or do you feel you need to conceal it?”. Almost 9 in 10 (88%) respondents concealed the fact that they were quiet quitters. The percentage is even higher when it comes to respondents employed in business and finance (94%). At the same time, 12% of the surveyed claimed they were open about being a quiet quitter.
Actions speak louder than words. Fair enough.
Working with quiet quitters
How does it feel to work with quiet quitters? Our helpful research participants shared their first-hand experiences.
- 87% of respondents have colleagues who show quiet quitting behavior.
- 70% of survey takers claimed they had criticized someone for quiet quitting behavior. It applied mainly to 82% of people working in small companies (1-50 employees). On the contrary, criticizing quiet quitters was less common (60%) among respondents from big companies (501 employees or more).
- 74% of survey takers had seen a manager criticize someone for quiet quitting behavior. The highest percentage of positive answers (85%) came from people with an annual personal income of $25 000 or less.
- Almost half (49%) of respondents with the greatest work experience (11 years or more) declared they hadn’t criticized their colleagues for quiet quitting behaviors. This group of survey takers was also least likely (47%) to report a colleague to management if they were a quiet quitter.
- But overall, 68% of all respondents declared they’d report quiet quitting to the boss.
- According to the full 75% of the survey, quiet quitting negatively impacted workplace productivity. Employees from the business and finance industry (86%) were even more in favor of that opinion, while the percentage dropped to 70% in the software/IT sector.
Yes, there are contradictions. People gladly declare themselves quiet quitters in the safety of an anonymous survey, but also admit to being critical of others who quiet quit. Seems internalizing the concept is easy but escaping the pressure to comply with traditional workplace culture is a challenge.
Additionally, we asked research participants to estimate what percentage of workers at their place of employment was quiet quitters. Here’s how they answered:
- More than 75%—2%
It is a huge underestimation, but it makes sense. Our findings show that quiet quitting is a common internal belief but not projected externally. Perhaps it’s time for all those secret quiet quitters to make some noise.
Moving forward, we investigated who our respondents preferred to work with, quiet quitters or the opposite. The answers were as follows:
- I’d prefer to work with colleagues who are quiet quitters — 35%.
- I’d prefer to work with colleagues who go above and beyond their assigned duties — 38%.
- I prefer neither, it doesn’t make any difference to me whether my colleagues are quiet quitters or not — 27%.
Could it be that the 38% who want hustle culture colleagues want others to carry their quiet quitting? That’s up for discussion.
Finally, 82% of research participants considered quiet quitting as a new phenomenon, while 18% believed it was just the way people had always worked.
The dilemma of whether quiet quitting is a new thing or just a catchy buzzword covering an existing issue seems to be solved then.
The role of work-life balance
As work-life balance is one of the core components of quiet quitting, we asked participants a series of questions on combining career with personal life.
- Almost 9 in 10 (87%) of respondents viewed setting crystal-clear work-life boundaries as one of their priorities. It was especially important for employees working in the manufacturing (94%) and business and finance (92%) industries.
Let’s focus on priorities now. Respondents were also asked what mattered more to them. Their answers were the following:
- Mental health is more important than work to me. — 94%
- Physical health is more important than work to me. — 91%
- Family is more important than work to me. — 91%
- Friends are more important than work to me. — 82%
- Leisure activities are more important than work to me. — 70%
- 99% of the health care industry employees valued mental health more than work.
- Attitudes toward family and friends seemed to change with respondents’ age. Participants aged 25 or younger claimed family (84%) and friends (76%) were more important than work to them. When it comes to older respondents (aged 41 or more), the percentage rose to 93% in the case of prioritizing family over career and to 84% in the case of friends.
- Survey takers of ethnic minorities (85%) valued leisure activities more than white respondents (70%) did.
Aging can be an eye-opening process, it seems. Experience triggers a priority shift.
What’s also noteworthy, as many as 8 in 10 respondents declared they avoided taking on obligations beyond their individual job functions. It may result from the fact that the vast majority (81%) of our research participants believed that constantly pursuing advancement in your career ruined your quality of life. Sherlock Holmes would be proud of that bright deduction, I bet.
Views on today’s workplace culture
Time to reflect on the culture of work. When constantly being busy is glorified, getting caught in the hype is easy. As easy as forgetting about what matters the most. Let’s have a look at the research findings.
- Quiet quitting is a rebellion against hustle culture. Almost 8 in 10 (78%) respondents believed we should reject the hustle culture mentality.
Hustle culture refers to the mentality that one must work all day, every day, in pursuit of their professional goals. For our respondents, this mentality reflects the timeless words of Admiral Ackbar:
It’s a trap! Work can dominate time in such an unnatural way that we have no time to live our lives.
- Research participants, in general, viewed people as too focused on their careers (87%). 85% also believed that we should spend more time with our families.
- 50% of respondents believed that people should work more, 16% that they should work less, and 34% that they should work the same as they do now.
Okay. (Un)fair enough. Reject hustle culture and work more.
Impossible is nothing. Sky’s the limit. And so on and so forth.
Our relationship with work
Moving on, we asked a series of questions to examine how important work was in the participants’ life and how it made them feel.
- 87% of respondents declared work was an essential part of their life. It was true especially for 96% of employees in the manufacturing industry and 95% of respondents with an annual income of less than $25 000.
- 88% of the surveyed considered their work meaningful, 88% liked their job, and 85% found it satisfying.
- Work gave satisfaction mainly to employees of the business and finance (92%) and health care (91%) industries.
- 85% of respondents claimed they cared about the social status their job gave them. Social status seemed to be especially important to 94% of people employed in the manufacturing sector.
- 86% of survey takers claimed they were ambitious in their careers.
- Almost 9 in 10 (88%) participants agreed that work was a value in itself.
So it seems the key to workplace happiness is to keep it balanced. Most of our respondents claimed to be quiet quitters, but they’re also satisfied with their jobs and consider them meaningful.
Let’s shift our focus to what motivates people to work. Our respondents declared that their main motivations were the following:
- Money — 38%
- Family duties — 31%
- Passion — 24%
- Ambition — 23%
- Social status — 21%
- People I work with — 15%
- A sense of purpose in life — 14%
- Making a difference — 13%
- Recognition — 11%
Interestingly, women (26%) mentioned passion more often than men (21%) did. At the same time, 16% of male respondents chose “making a difference” as their motivation to work. In that case, the percentage dropped to 10% in answers given by females.
Some other research findings to note:
- 84% of respondents agreed that their personal worth wasn’t defined by their productive output.
- 80% of participants declared they worked only because they had to. The percentage of positive answers was even higher in the case of the business and finance (88%) and the health care (86%) industries.
- For 73% of survey takers, their life would be more satisfying if they didn’t work. Yet, 31% of people with the greatest work experience (11 years or more) strongly disagreed.
Well, view consistency is not a must.
Maybe it would be great not to work. Still, we all know that it’s just a utopian vision. And we try to adapt to the circumstances and find meaning in the inevitable.
Now, let’s move on to take a close look at how much we work.
Going above and beyond at work
Quiet quitting promotes not going above and beyond at work. Let’s check if we actually follow that golden rule.
Well, not necessarily. As many as 85% of respondents claimed to work more than is “officially” required by their job role. There were some interesting disparities within different demographic groups to note. Have a look:
- Company’s size: 501+ employees — 76% vs. 1-50 employees — 94%.
- Industry: software/IT — 81% vs. white — business & finance — 92%.
- Race: ethnic minorities — 94% vs. white — 84%.
We also asked research participants what exactly they always and/or often did outside working hours. Here’s what they answered:
- Checking work emails — 46%
- Picking up work phone — 54%
- Working — 85%
Additionally, younger people (aged 25 or less) were most likely to check work emails outside working hours (57%). At the same time, employees of the business and finance industry showed the strongest tendency to picking up the work phone (65%) in their free time.
The top 3 groups of respondents working more than required were:
- Employees of the business & finance industry — 93%
- Employees of the manufacturing industry — 91%
- Employees of the health care industry — 90%
To get a bigger picture, we asked the research participants to tell us how much time per week, approximately, they spent working outside official working hours. Here’s what we discovered.
- 1-3 hours — 11%
- 4-5 hours — 38%
- 6-8 hours — 45%
- 9 hours or more — 6%
6 days work week (sic!) looks like a new normal for almost half of the respondents. It touches a nerve.
On the one hand, quiet quitting. On the other, going above and beyond work. Not a match.
Let’s dig deeper to understand better. What makes so many of us work so much despite claiming to be quiet quitters? Have a look at the answers to the question below.
“Why do you personally work more than required?”
- I love my work. — 40%
- My work is my passion. — 33%
- Because of money — 27%
- Because of my ambition — 21%
- My life situation forces me to work more than required. — 18%
- Because of a chance of promotion — 16%
- I am afraid of losing a job. — 10%
- I don’t feel lonely when I work. — 9%
- Other — 2%
Love and passion make the world go round, it seems. The world of work as well. So again, we have a contradiction. People call themselves quiet quitters, but criticize others for doing the same. They dream of escaping the grind of hustle culture, but pressure and passion makes them go above and beyond their contracted duties.
There really are two sides to every story, as can be seen in the words of our respondents.
Two sides to every story
We encouraged our respondents to share their opinions on doing only the required minimum at work. The majority supported the idea, emphasizing the role of mental health and work-life balance. Here’s what they said in their own words.
In the long run, inadequate pay combined with work-related stress lead to frustration, burnout, and a change in attitude to one’s job. In that case, doing only the minimum at work may be just the natural order of things. Still, there are two sides to every story. For some, doing only the required minimum at work means standing still—in your career and beyond.
Some survey takers accepted other people’s limiting their work to doing only the necessary. Yet, they couldn’t imagine themselves in that position.
As you can see, there’s no easy answer.
Your life, your career, your choices. You reap what you sow.
Final opinions on quiet quitting and related issues
Quiet quitting evokes strong emotions and turns out to be a surprisingly polarizing term. We asked a few final questions to examine our respondents’ overall opinions on this labor market trend and co-related issues. Let’s have a look at the research findings.
- 71% of the surveyed perceived the quiet quitting phenomenon as positive. Interestingly, respondents aged 25 or younger (75%) were more optimistic about it than those aged 41 and above (68%). The older, the wiser? Or rather more skeptical toward another revolutionary trend?
- In general, almost 9 in 10 (87%) of the respondents agreed that there was nothing wrong with doing only the required minimum at work. Additionally, employees of health care (94%) as well as business and finance (93%) industries favored such an attitude even more. Interestingly, the company’s size also mattered. 89% of respondents from small companies (1-50 employees) didn’t see anything wrong with doing the bare minimum at work. At the same time, 80% of those working for big companies (501 employees or more) shared that view.
- As many as 84% of survey takers were of the opinion that work formed an essential part of your value as a person. At the same time, 77% of the respondents could imagine their life without work. Yet, the percentage drops to 68% when it comes to employees with more than 11 years of work experience.
We also focused on the relationship between a successful career, the effort you need to achieve it, and a happy life.
- 84% of the survey takers believed that going above and beyond at work was a must to achieve a successful career. At the same time, 81% declared that you could be genuinely happy without a successful career.
It’s a hard nut to crack. There is no universal recipe for professional success combined with happiness in personal life, it seems. Between black and white, there’s a million shades of gray.
Quiet quitting is far from a simple topic. Still, whether we support the idea or not, one thing is for sure. We should always speak up. For ourselves, for others, and for the right to live a happy life.
And if workers were more open with each other, we might see a drop in the contradictions we observed.
Let’s sum up what LiveCareer’s study on quiet quitting revealed.
- 94% of respondents considered themselves quiet quitters.
- 87% of participants viewed setting crystal-clear work-life boundaries as one of their priorities.
- The vast majority of survey takers valued mental health (94%), physical health (91%), and family (91%) higher than work.
- Overall, 87% of respondents viewed people as too focused on their careers . 85% also believed we should spend more time with our families.
- For 73% of survey takers, their life would be more satisfying if they didn’t work.
- 85% of respondents spent approximately 6–8 hours per week working outside “official” time.
- 71% of the surveyed perceived the quiet quitting phenomenon as positive.
- 84% of the survey takers believed that going above and beyond at work was a must to achieve a successful career. At the same time, 81% declared that you could be genuinely happy without a successful career.
The above-presented findings were obtained by surveying 1059 respondents online via a bespoke polling tool. They were asked questions about a wide range of aspects that quiet quitting covers (i.a. hustle culture, the importance of work-life balance, the role of work in one’s life, and more). These included yes/no questions, scale-based questions relating to levels of agreement with a statement, questions that permitted the selection of multiple options from a list of potential answers, and a question that allowed open responses. All respondents included in the study passed an attention-check question.
The data presented relies on self-reports from a randomized group of respondents. Each person who took our survey read and responded to each question without any research administration or interference. There are many potential issues with self-reported data like selective memory, exaggeration, attribution, or telescoping. Some questions and responses have been rephrased or condensed for clarity and ease of understanding for readers.
Fair use statement
Want to share the findings of our research? Go ahead. Feel free to use our images and information wherever you wish. Just link back to this page, please—it will let other readers get deeper into the topic. Additionally, remember to use this content exclusively for non-commercial purposes.
- Daughtery, G., “What Is Quiet Quitting—and Is It a Real Trend?”
- Espada, M., “Employees Say ‘Quiet Quitting’ Is Just Setting Boundaries. Companies Fear Long-Term Effects”
- Hussain, Z., “Explained: Quiet Quitting, Trend That Rejects The Hustle Culture Mentality”
- Harter, J., “Is Quiet Quitting Real?”
- Klotz, A. C. & Mark C. Bolino, M. C., “When Quiet Quitting Is Worse Than the Real Thing”
- McGregor, G., “Before ‘Quiet Quitting’ in the U.S., There Was ‘Lying Flat’ in China. How the Anti-work Movement Swept he World’s Two Largest Economies”
- Tapper, J., “Quiet Quitting: Why Doing The Bare Minimum At Work Has Gone Global”
- Travis, B., “Quiet Quitting: What It Really Means and How to Address It”
LiveCareer is dedicated to getting you hired faster, no matter your industry or level of experience. Our easy-to-use Resume Builder and professional resume templates will help you every step of the way in your career journey.