Job Dissatisfaction Pushes Senior Leaders From Top U.S. Companies to Join the Great Resignation

Job Dissatisfaction Pushes Senior Leaders From Top U.S. Companies  to Join the Great Resignation

KellyOCG survey finds businesses struggle to navigate demands for life-work design – and identifies how some companies are succeeding

TROY, Mich. (May 10, 2022) — While some organizations might not have felt the full force of the Great Resignation just yet, a staggering number of senior executives from top U.S. companies plan to leave their organizations in the next two years, according to a new report released today by KellyOCG, the outsourcing and consulting business of Kelly.

According to the 2022 KellyOCG Global Workforce Report – Re:work – there’s a significant disconnect between employees’ expectations and the support employers provide. Through a survey of C-suite leaders, board members, department heads, directors, and managers in 12 countries, including the United States and Canada, the report finds that 78% of U.S. executives and 52% of Canadian executives, compared to 72% of leaders globally, aim to leave their jobs by 2024. This threat of turnover among senior management – or “boss loss” – looms especially large in the U.S., as leaders are more likely to report dissatisfaction with their roles than their Canadian and international peers.

The report, a follow-up to the 2021 report, Next-level Agility: The Four Dynamics of a Resilient Workforce, identifies the greatest talent challenges and risks facing organizations as they emerge from the pandemic. It also explores how companies are transforming across four critical dynamics of success: workforce fluidity; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); employee experience; and adoption of tools and technologies.

“Employee expectations about work have changed for good. Our research indicates a life-work shift is underway around the world, and U.S. and Canadian employers are responding very differently with how they’re supporting their employees,” said Tammy Browning, president of KellyOCG. “If employers fail to take action across the four dynamics, they will continue to see employees at all levels – including their most senior and knowledgeable talent – walk out the door. Our report identifies the steps that companies can take to prevent attrition and build agility throughout their organization.”

Key findings from the report for North America include:

  • American executives are unhappier. Senior executives around the world reported high levels of job dissatisfaction, with leaders from the United States being less likely to say they are happy in their current role (22%) than Canadian (48%) and global respondents (28%). When compared to Canadian executives, American leaders are also less likely to say they have a good work-life balance (30% vs. 65%) and enjoy their roles and get along with the people they work with (25% vs. 52%). Of the 12 countries surveyed, U.S. respondents were also the least likely to report their organization has built a company culture that empowers teams and encourages collaboration.

  • Hybrid work isn’t working for most. Just one in five respondents to the global survey say hybrid working styles are positively impacting organizational culture, including 11% of American and 31% of Canadian executives. U.S. workers are also the least likely to have received allowances to help improve their workstation and technology so they can effectively work from home (21%, compared to 48% in Canada and 31% globally). What’s more, American firms are the least likely to have asked for employee feedback on their return to work, hybrid and remote work policies, suggesting that the opportunity to be involved in decision making around such arrangements can lead to increased collaboration and productivity.

  • Mental health and wellbeing are emerging as a diversity, equity and inclusion imperative. More than a quarter of global respondents say that the number of employees who have taken time off for mental health reasons has increased in the past year, but three out of four American executives and two-thirds of leaders in Canada say they do not have a workplace culture where it’s acceptable to disclose mental health challenges as a reason for taking time off. Canadian executives are twice as likely to say their employer cares about their mental health than their American peers (43% vs. 20%) and that their employees have adequate access to mental health resources such as counseling and education sessions than their American peers (46% vs. 33%).

  • Meeting evolving employee expectations requires a better way of tracking and measuring engagement. Only 23% of U.S. firms report that employee expectations around work-life balance, flexible working, compensation and benefits and wellbeing support have changed since the pandemic when compared to their Canadian counterparts (48%) and their international peers (37%). Canadian leaders are also more likely to feel that their higher expectations are being met: more than two-thirds of Canadians say they have a good work-life balance – the highest of all countries surveyed. American firms are less likely than their Canadian neighbors to use tools such as regular employee surveys and pulse polls, and employee focus groups to measure and respond to evolving employee needs and expectations. Additionally, American firms are 10% less likely than their global peers to implement tools such as surveys and 14% less likely to indicate that employee expectations have changed – indicating that regular feedback mechanisms are critical to keeping up with what talent wants and needs.

The Re:work report provides a blueprint for firms interested in following the lead of the “Vanguards” – a group of thriving organizations that report an increase in employee wellbeing, productivity, and revenue growth in the last year. The Vanguards represent 15% of global survey respondents, and they’re leading the way across the four key dynamics to drive their approach to culture, technology, and talent management. When these four dynamics are embraced together, businesses across industries can better attract, retain, and motivate talent to meet their business goals, the Re:work report finds. Independent experts cited throughout the report provide further insights and testimonials on how their organizations are navigating the life-work shift.

Read the full report for additional insights.

About KellyOCG®
KellyOCG connects companies with the talented people they need to fuel and grow their business through our unrivaled global talent supply chain and leading workforce solutions including Managed Service Provider (MSP) and Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO). We combine decades of people industry experience with proprietary insights and a continued focus on technology to produce world-class programs that meet an organization’s unique workforce needs and can start them on their journey to total talent management. Our ability to anticipate what’s next for talent solutions drives us to challenge the status quo making us a trusted partner for our global client portfolio, which spans leading industries across North America, APAC and EMEA. Visit or connect with us on LinkedIn to learn more.

About the Survey
KellyOCG surveyed 1,000 senior executives, 20% of whom are in C-suite or board member roles, across 12 countries – Australia, Canada, China, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States – and 10 industries.