Close this search box.

‘Quiet Office Quitters’ are leaving over low pay

UK office workers are making the leap, handing their notices in, swapping jobs, and ditching the 9 to 5 altogether, according to new research. They’re also, most importantly, quiet quitters.

UK office workers are making the leap, handing their notices in, swapping jobs, and ditching the 9 to 5 altogether, according to new research. They’re also, most importantly, quiet quitters.

The study, conducted by online printing specialists, instantprint, involved interviewing 1,000 UK employees in the hopes of exploring the push and pull factors of job hopping and why quiet quitting has become the new norm for the workplace.

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. instantprint asked 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 their 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.

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 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.

A quick departure
instantprint’s survey respondents also 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 respondents shared that they 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.

To job hop or stay put
When surveyed, 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. instantprint’s 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.

But what is it that is pushing the workers to quit so drastically and without a trace?

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. instantprint surveyed respondents to find out what push factors have caused them to quit or consider quitting their job.

According to the 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, it’s not shocking 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.

Toxic bosses
It seems that a toxic workplace can also 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, instantprint again surveyed 1,000 UK office workers as part of their The Modern Workplace campaign and 55.8% of survey respondents shared that 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.

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 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
Salary ranks second for 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 respondents provided, instantprint 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 life.

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?

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 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.

Laura Mucklow, Head of instantprint, commented on the findings: “We can see here, first hand, how important it is to attract and retain employees. Employers need to make sure they’re doing everything they can to make sure their workplace is one that is inviting, challenging, accommodating, and motivating as possible.”

    Read more

    Latest News

    Read More

    Moving the HR function forward

    21 April 2024


    Receive the latest HR news and strategic content

    Please note, as per the GDPR Legislation, we need to ensure you are ‘Opted In’ to receive updates from ‘theHRDIRECTOR’. We will NEVER sell, rent, share or give away your data to third parties. We only use it to send information about our products and updates within the HR space To see our Privacy Policy – click here

    Latest HR Jobs

    Full time (37 hours per week), full year*. SFCA Support Scale Points 27 – 29 (£41,257 – £43,289 per annum)*. The successful candidate will be

    This is an exciting opportunity to support in the development and delivery of strategic projects and objectives.From Venn Group – Fri, 19 Apr 2024 13:32:50

    A senior interim HR leader / Director is needed for at least three months and until the organisation can determine the best permanent solution. Role

    A senior interim HR leader / Director is needed for at least three months and until the organisation can determine the best permanent solution. Role

    Read the latest digital issue of theHRDIRECTOR for FREE

    Read the latest digital issue of theHRDIRECTOR for FREE