Move over, quiet quitting: ‘Quiet firing’ is here!

There is no doubt everyone around the world has been affected by the global pandemic. Albeit some more than others, but we now have a completely different attitude to the way we approach challenges, whether it be work, family or personal preference.

Opinions have changed on the way we work, from where we work and socialization generally is a far more guarded, risk averse and a thought through process.

Many in the workforce maintain that they want to move to a new position and company, feeling they are undervalued, over managed and not being developed. However, they will not venture into the market to appraise an opportunity. If they are approached with an opportunity they often use it to secure a counter offer from their existing employer, even though they had to request it! Even if a significantly better offer is made by a new employer the reason to stay is the time they have had with their existing employer and the need for job security.

The reality is that there is volatility within most companies. There is an ongoing need to increase productivity and the lack of quality, skilled candidates in the market has meant that it is particularly uncertain time in terms of remaining in the current role.

In the broadest sense when all the above variables are added to the increasing lack of new entrants from overseas, the talent shortage created over the last 3 years has resulted in existing employees having a significant position of strength in terms of their current role.

The retention of talent has become a major strategic focus.

Ironically the market conditions and the resultant behavior of incumbents has resulted in employers being able to realign their talent, retain the key skills they need and discard those that are not for the longer haul at a minimum exit cost.

It even has a name, as have many new practices enjoyed during the pandemic, namely ‘Quiet Firing” but we will come back to that. It has closed the employment cycle that has emerged in recent times , closed of the loop in favor of employers.

To explain let’s incorporate some well used jargon that has hit the employment market over recent times.

It started with the a Great Resignation where people left their current roles without a new job and spent time contemplating their work preferences as the hybrid role and balance of life became commonplace. This led to Quiet Quitting where the employee had effectively checked out of their role, doing the bare minimum as they reviewed opportunity. This allowed at least a cash flow and may have also involved a role taken on as a stop gap in the weird pandemic recovery phase.

These scenarios favor the candidate.

But now the employer gained the upper hand!


The jargon for the action is “Quietly Firing”

This is when the employer realizes that an existing employee skill set is not needed in the future business model.

They begin excluding, minimizing, basically excommunicating that employee. The employee become stressed and disillusioned, over time withdrawn. This process may have been historically referred to as constructive dismissal. However, the employee leaves of their own accord in true Great Resignation style.

There are basically no redundancy or other severance costs incurred and a new more suitable hiring for the role can be made.

The various new workplace practices were always going to create challenging situations, this is one of them. Be sure to think through potential consequences of your actions whether as an employee or employer as we move out of this very challenging market in which we operate.

Empowered or disempowered, which would you prefer?

If you would like to discuss more about managing your existing situation and talent strategies, please call Peter Gleeson, Ian Stacy or Peter Tanner (03) 9190 8904 or visit