How to be a board director

The 30% Club and EY have joined forces to research what it takes to be considered for an ASX 200 board position.

Last year, 185 non-executive directors were appointed to ASX 200 boards with 113 of those experiencing their first board appointment.

EY and the 30% Club found consensus amongst respondents that an executive career develops the technical skills, reputation and commercial exposure required to add value to a board.

The research discovered search consultants are increasingly involved in the selection process and are charged with providing an un-biased list of candidates.

"The survey shows that being part of an exclusive network no longer guarantees a seat on the board and a gender-balanced shortlist is considered the norm," 30% Club chair Nicola Wakefield Evans said.

"It is heartening to note boards are also seeking directors who are emotionally intelligent, demonstrate integrity, courage and have a strong moral compass."

EY Oceania chief executive and managing partner Tony Johnson said the premise of the research was to ask better questions about how people get to boardroom roles with the best possible experience under their belt.

"While the research tells us executive experience is desirable, the broader challenge is a lack of representation from female leaders at this level who are developing the operational and technical skills preparing them for board positions," he said.

He added that to encourage board diversity, organisations need to create pathways to senior management roles for women and encourage growth at all stages of women's careers.

The research identified one of the key factors limiting female board aspirants was a lack of senior executive experience, and particularly financial management experience.

The majority of board members surveyed were in their 50s, and had experience with government and not-for-profit boards as well as at private or listed companies.

Only 12% of women had their first board appointment at ASX 200 level, while 25% of men did.

The survey found significantly more female respondents had undertaken education than their male counterparts.

The report surveyed men and women who were appointed to their first board position with an ASX 200 company in 2018, as well as the chairs who appointed them and some consultants who work with boards.

Read more: ASX% ClubEY OceaniaNicola Wakefield EvansTony Johnson
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