Companies are reassigning employees as a subtle way to encourage them to take a pay cut or leave.
- Large companies have responded in the past year to employment issues by resorting to “quiet firing” or “quiet cutting.”
- Employees speaking with The Wall Street Journal say that they have been waking up to find that their positions have been eliminated, being told they need to find other positions within the company.
- Companies like IBM, Adidas, Salesforce, and Adobe have been aggressively restructuring and reassigning employees recently, with corporate mentions of “reassignment” tripling in August, AlphaSense reports.
- These reassignments often require taking lower-paying positions, being forced to relocate, or facing implicit pressure to quit without a severance package.
Why It’s Important
The phenomena of “quiet quitting” emerged last July and set the business world ablaze with fears that younger employees were feeling motivated to put in the bare minimum or quit jobs they found unfulfilling. While the movement’s popularizer has publicly distanced himself from it, the trend has carried into this year with young people embracing “anti-work” sentiments online.
It appears that corporations are playing a similar game. Despite layoffs being down and unemployment sitting at 3.5%, companies feel the pinch to perform layoffs, restructure, and focus on profitability. The post-pandemic economy has proven difficult for many tech companies, resulting in mass layoffs this year of hundreds of thousands of skilled workers.
“Quiet cutting,” if it can be said to be a conscious effort on the part of large companies, appears to reflect trends of organizations struggling to figure out what to do with their expensive skilled staff, preferring to quietly push them out the door or underpay them rather than going through the expense of severance packages and unemployment benefits—pressuring these workers to quit by their own volition.
“I got the sense that it was like: ‘We appreciate everything you did, so we didn’t lay you off, so you can either make the best of this or go find another job somewhere else,’” IBM sales specialist Matt Conrad tells The Wall Street Journal, after having been reassigned twice in the past two years. “I wouldn’t give in because I was a top performer, and it just wasn’t fair.”