Unpaid overtime has increased – is it contributing to ‘quiet quitting’?

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Published: 23 August, 2022
Only 4% of organisations managed to decrease their employees’ level of overtime last financial year, according to recruitment and workforce solutions specialists Hays.
Alarmingly, while 51% kept overtime rates steady year-on-year, 45% increased overtime even further.
According to Hays, this rise in overtime could further provoke ‘quiet quitting’.
More than 4,400 organisations (including 1,222 in New Zealand) were surveyed for the annual Hays Salary Guide. In 31% of organisations, Hays found the average weekly amount of overtime was more than 10% of standard hours. In a 40-hour working week, this equates to at least four hours extra per week. In 8% of organisations, the weekly average amount of overtime was more than 21%, or above eight hours per week. 
Furthermore, 24% of those who are currently looking or planning to look for a new job in the next 12 months cite poor work-life balance as a motivating factor. 
“Skills shortages reached acute levels in the past year, leading many employers to ask their existing team to work longer hours to cover critical gaps,” says Adam Shapley, Managing Director of Hays in New Zealand. 
“We know that 83% of employers say skills shortages will impact the effective operation of their organisation this financial year. According to employers, the number one impact will be increased workloads for existing staff (nominated by 71% of employers in the Hays Salary Guide).
“Any increase in overtime is a dangerous signal that staff are under pressure. Morale, health, wellbeing and stress-related absenteeism could all be affected.” 
“Quitting the idea of going above and beyond”
“This can either lead to rising turnover or, in a new trend, quiet quitting,” says Adam. “Quiet quitting sees employees make a conscious decision to perform the bare minimum at work. For instance, they won’t stay back to help a colleague meet a deadline, work on a task that isn’t in their job description or volunteer for additional work. For them, an adequate effort is enough to get by.”
In a viral TikTok post on this trend, @zkchillin explained, “You’re not outright quitting your job but you’re quitting the idea of going above and beyond.”
To counter rising overtime rates, Hays suggests organisations:
  • Leverage tools and software to track working hours, detect overtime patterns and identify predictors of burnout;
  • Use employee pulse surveys to measure employee wellbeing;
  • Review the team or organisation’s resource model and embed agility so you can scale up for seasonal peaks without negatively impacting employee wellbeing and satisfaction;
  • Encourage staff to take time off immediately before or after seasonal peaks.

Download the Hays Salary Guide

The Hays Salary Guide is based on a survey of over 4,400 organisations (including 1,222 in New Zealand) and more than 4,800 skilled professionals (including 1,279 in New Zealand). Download your copy by visiting www.hays.net.nz/salary-guide
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For further information please contact Kathryn Crowden at kathryn.crowden@hays.com.au, Clare Zacka at clare.zacka@hays.com.au or Adam Shapley at adam.shapley@hays.net.nz or +64 (0) 9 375 9424.
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