UAE jobs: ‘Quiet firing’ trends weeks after ‘quiet quitting’ goes viral

In a recent poll, eight in 10 people say the trend is real


Sahim Salim

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Published: Tue 6 Sep 2022, 7:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 6 Sep 2022, 11:33 PM

Weeks after workplace trend ‘quiet quitting’ went viral, another called ‘quiet firing’ is making waves. Both trends are sparking conversations and debates around work culture and employee well-being.

Quiet quitting sees employees do exactly what they are hired for and not go beyond the call of duty. Quiet firing, on the other hand, involves bosses who make work conditions so miserable that employees are forced to quit. It could mean line managers who do not provide employees enough opportunities to grow or those who refuse to give top performers the raise they deserve.

Recruiters warn that this trend is more rampant than quiet quitting.

In a poll, LinkedIn asked its users if they had encountered cases of quiet firing — and a whopping 83 per cent of respondents confirmed that the trend was real.

Here are the results of the poll that had over 20,100 votes:

The post on the poll said there is no fixed definition for quiet firing, “but examples include going years without a raise or promotion, shifting responsibilities toward tasks that require less experience or a deliberate withdrawal of development and leadership opportunities”.

How both 'quiet' trends are connected

Z.P., an employee of a Dubai-based company, said she “quiet quit because I was quiet fired”.

“I can relate to and understand both these terms because I have experienced it. I saw my colleagues get raise after raise, while I was stuck doing the same thing — which I excelled at, by the way. I used to spend hours in the office, trying to perfect what I brought to the table. Now, I just do my official hours and leave. When I started reading about the ‘quiet’ trends, I realised both are connected,” she said.

Is this practice new?

Nicki Wilson, owner and managing director of Dubai-based Genie Recruitment, said the trend has gained traction because it now has a name. But in reality, it has always been around.

Wilson has personally seen it in organisations for many years, “whether it is excluding an individual from great projects, isolating someone from the team, overloading someone until they are burnt out etc”.

"They wanted me to leave because I was one of the higher paid members of staff. So, it is … not just underperformers who experience quiet firing,” she added.

Wilson stressed that this is a “very unhealthy practice” as it could even “drive out great performers”.

“There are many reasons managers want to push subordinates to quit and, inevitably, it can cause ripple effects into the work culture. Employees talk and no one likes to see individuals being poorly treated.”

If managers are resorting to quiet firing to get rid of employees who are not performing well, it’s up to them to address the issue professionally, she said.

“Managers must be strong enough to raise issues with staff, that’s part of why someone would be a manager. Have an open conversation to seek out resolutions to performance issues or iron out issues to dissolve resentment,” she said.

Empowering employees to give their best

Leadership and work culture activist Niousha Ehsan said employers and line managers “shoot themselves in the foot” by quiet firing.

“Quiet firing has the opposite effect as employees are not motivated to excel, and this is detrimental to an organisation’s success. Therefore, employers and line managers may think that quiet firing is a smart tactic to avoid legal fees or firing someone — but in actuality, they are negatively affecting work culture and staff performance,” said Ehsan.

The certified life coach and mentor said quiet firing produces a negative work culture where staff performance and actions are driven by fear.

“On the other hand, if an employee is empowered to think outside the box, freely assess multiple opportunities, and be creatively led, then they can operate in the domain of possibility. This is how potential is unlocked and extraordinary solutions are produced,” she added.


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