Employee disaffection reaches the highest levels it appears, after research from recruiter Harvey Nash found over a third of execs consider quitting in their first 90 days of starting a new job.

Nearly 40 per cent of the 280 senior executives polled found such a mismatch in their jobs compared to their expectations when being hired, that they thought about moving on before the first three months was up.

All respondents had joined their organisation within the last year.

Nearly three quarters said they plan to leave their current job within the first three years.

Common complaints from respondents included a large discrepancy between how the job was described during the recruitment process and what it turned out to be when they joined.

Over three quarters felt their organisations’ induction processes adequately prepared them to succeed in their new workplaces.

Less than half of these new joiners felt they could raise difficult issues with their new CEO or immediate boss.

“If you are investing in recruiting a senior employee, you would expect the rest of the management to be buying into that fresh perspective,” said Lucy McGee, director of leadership services at Harvey Nash’s executive search arm.

“Perhaps CEOs are better at expressing their vision of the future than they are taking on board new perspectives. But, respondents said they get a lot of time with the CEO at the beginning so it’s essential that they focus those conversations on what they expect from them.”

McGee also recommended concentrating on establishing a set of agreed key performance indicators early. Over a third of respondents said they worked the first three months with no idea how their success within the organisation was being measured.

She went on to say that operational executives, like CIOs tend to be hired for their technical expertise and experience over their cultural fit within the organisation. It’s important to establish what the hiring organisation is looking for in terms of personality for these sorts of roles.

McGee said: “A key relationship to establish early is with the HR director. They can help you navigate the corporate culture, identify the power relationships, put pressure on the CEO to be more receptive and establish those KPIs.”