Will 2023 Be the Year of 'Quiet Hiring'?

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  • Quiet hiring is the concept of gaining worker skills without actually gaining new workers.
  • It's something more companies might seek to do this year as economic fears abound.

Companies might grow their talent -- but not in the way you think.

If you read up on the labor market, you may be inclined to think it's in pretty good shape. Not only is unemployment down to pre-pandemic levels, but it's also, on a national scale, the lowest it's been in 54 years.

But while the job market might seem healthy, it's hard to overlook certain warning signs. These include a notable string of layoffs early on in the year (largely out of the tech sector) and the fact that the Federal Reserve is not done raising interest rates to combat inflation.

As interest rates go up, borrowing is apt to get more expensive for consumers, whether in the form of auto loans or credit card balances. And that could fuel a large pullback in spending that leads to an economic recession.

As such, companies might choose to slow down on traditional hiring in 2023. And they may opt for something called quiet hiring instead.

What is quiet hiring?

Quiet hiring is the idea of a company acquiring new skills without actually hiring new employees. In some cases, it can mean turning to contractors to fill specific needs. In other cases, it can mean pushing existing employees to take on new roles and develop new essential skills.

Quiet hiring can be a money saver for employers. After all, if companies are able to get away with limiting their headcount, they can save not only on salaries, but also, on the benefits they commonly offer.

But often, the purpose of quiet hiring is to address actual needs within a company without having to spend a fortune. So companies that engage in quiet hiring might need more headcount in theory -- they just don't want to pay for it in practice.

Also, quiet hiring can often involve shifting workers from one role to another to address pressing needs. But this can be a mixed bag. Often, it leaves employees having to pull more weight -- without extra pay.

What to do if your company starts quiet hiring

Quiet hiring can put a burden on existing employees. But it can also set the stage for career growth. So if you're encouraged to expand your current skill set or move into a different role within your company, don't necessarily take that as a bad thing.

That said, you don't want to end up in a situation where your company is taking advantage of you. If your workload increases substantially, to the point where you're working longer hours for no extra pay, speak up.

While your employer may not want to bear the cost of hiring someone new for your department, your company may be willing to raise your pay a bit as a thank you and acknowledgement of the added work you're doing. And getting a raise could make it easier to boost your savings account balance and pay your bills at a time when living costs are soaring.

It also pays to take advantage if your employer is willing to pay for you to further your job skills. If you can get a professional license or certification covered, go for it. That will only leave you with more options if you decide in the future to part ways with your current employer and pursue other opportunities.

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