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  • Writer's pictureEilish Jamieson

Why a non-executive role might be your best move yet

Updated: Sep 14, 2020

The number of women taking up non-executive roles alongside their executive career is on the increase, and there are a tonne of reasons why you should start considering one TODAY!

There was a time when non-executive roles were thought of as 'retirement gigs'. Something to keep your brain active once you've made your mark on your career and are looking for a bit more time on the golf course.

Thankfully those days are long gone. An archive of corporate failures is enough to prove the point that many boards lost their relevance when they sat down at a table of the old boys club.

That's not to say that things are all where they should be YET. Since the introduction of the Hampton-Alexander Review the number of women on boards in the FTSE 350 has steadily increased and is now above the 30% mark. But this is not universal, with a third of FTSE 350 companies having less that 30%, suggesting the 'one and done' philosophy is still very much alive and kicking in British boardrooms.

What is even more worrying is the percentage of women at executive board level, which sits at a low percentage of just over 20% (just over 50% of graduates are female), and the even more staggeringly low percentage of 4% at CEO level.

The problem exists in the female pipeline. The perception of what a leader at the top of a UK company looks like is still overwhelmingly male, white and middle class. This bias is creating yet another barrier for women who have managed to navigate the family years and are more than ready and capable of taking up the reigns.

This week Citibank announced the appointment of Jane Fraser as their global CEO. This was hot on the heels of Alison Rose's appointment as CEO of Natwest. Both women are working mothers, and both speak candidly about needing to sacrifice career at times during their journey to the top. It is evident is that no-one doubts their capabilities now that they have got to the top. Once the announcements were made, the financial community was quick to provide example upon example of the women having lead numerous businesses already. Yet more evidence that you have to take the seat, to be seen in the seat.

Which brings me to the topic of non-executive roles.

Non-executive director (otherwise known as NED) roles vary hugely, but what they have in common is that they give you a seat at the table. A seat that will provide a new lens on the organisation, and likely a new lens on your own organisation. Having a seat at the boardroom table adds a new dimension to your professional experience, and can dramatically alter your own and others view of your contribution and capabilities.

As a non-executive, trustee, board evaluator and coach, with over 20 years of audit executive experience I think I’ve seen the boardroom from every angle - from its most brilliant to its less than glowing moments. The number one factor that consistently influences my opinion of the effectiveness of a board is the the diversity at the table. From profitability to strategy, the evidence speaks for itself, diverse boards make better decisions. Better decisions makes for better business.

If you would like to learn more about Non-Executive roles, different types, responsibilities, where to go for support and resources, and why you should start to consider one NOW, then join my FB community on Friday 18 September at 1pm BST for a live webinar from my Pivot Series.

P.S. The event will be recorded so if you can’t make this time register and we will send you a recording after the event.


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