News Analysis

Directors in demand – there is a growing global demand for corporate governance professionals

by Alex Crimmins


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The global demand for corporate governance professionals soars

Public and private organisations worldwide are under increasing pressure from investors and other stakeholders to demonstrate that they have robust and effective boards. There is now a very high global demand for corporate governance professionals.

Today’s board members and company directors need to have the skills and the insights required to succeed in the boardroom.

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Ultimately the board is charged with the overall governance, management and strategic direction of the organisation and delivering accountable corporate performance.

In all global markets, the demand for board members that are effective and accountable to their stakeholders is surging. During the past few years, investors have increased their expectations for company boards—a trend we expect to continue in the coming years.

The quality of a board’s composition is key

Directors are increasingly examined for their industry knowledge, understanding of significant issues like ESG, and their experience in transformational projects.

Globally, investor interest in ESG and board diversity continues to grow.

Organisations can also expect increased pressure to reveal their board competency priorities, their successor plans, and the diversity of their director candidates.

The message is clear – investors and other stakeholders want to see effective boards populated by people with boardroom skills and industry-specific talents.

Board refreshment

As part of the process for improving board quality, investors in most of the world’s top economies emphasise board composition, diversity, and regular board refreshment.

The corporate world is also getting a push from investors for more insight into how relevant their directors’ skills are.

In recent years, stakeholders have increasingly demanded to know why certain directors lead a company and whether they are prepared for disruption and change.

Demand for corporate governance professionals

The message is clear – organisations want better boards and more effective directors.

Russell Reynolds Associates surveyed 1,327 business leaders across 53 countries and all major industry sectors.

Corporate leadership teams face several pressing issues, including concerns about talent availability, leadership uncertainty on issues like ESG and diversity and inclusion, and the disconnects between boards and management teams.

59% of leaders surveyed say the lack of key talent and director skills is the top threat to their business in the coming year (second to uncertain economic growth).

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To become an effective board member, you need to know how effective boards work.

Created and delivered by board directors for board directors, the Diploma in Corporate Governance from the Corporate Governance Institute provides you with access to the latest thinking and methodologies used at the world’s most admired boards.

A stronger focus on corporate culture

Priorities for investors will include balancing social and environmental responsibility with long-term value creation.

Many investors are concerned about climate change and sustainability, which are among the most pressing issues facing many countries.

Investors fall into two camps regarding technology disruption and cybersecurity. Some investors consider these ESG issues, while others see them as significant business risks.

The impact of activist investors on boards continues

For many boards, the question is no longer if, but rather how and when activist investors will become involved.

Individual director performance and oversight failures continue to be monitored closely by activists.

Activists are now actively identifying the parts of the board that are weak and determining how they can improve the situation.

Download our free Ebook: What are activist investors and should your board be concerned?
Corporate Governance

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