Close this search box.

Board composition  |  Professional development  |  Succession planning

What non-executive director skills are in demand?

What non-executive director skills are in high demand?

When applying to board positions, non-executive directors are expected to bring strategic thinking, business, and financial acumen to the table. But what other skills are necessary to be effective? What set of skills, expertise and experiences are currently in demand? How has the global pandemic, digital transformation and ESG changed what is required in today’s boardroom for organisations to be sustainably successful? This blog outlines the skillsets that are currently in demand on UK boards. If you are looking to secure your next role, this article is a must-read.

The skills of effective board members

Non-executive directors are expected to demonstrate strategy thinking as well as financial and business acumen to agree the strategic plan and monitor its execution. Effective NEDs have:

  • an ability to think analytically and creatively
  • high emotional intelligence
  • problem-solving skills
  • an inquisitive mindset

Effective NEDs are confidently relied on to deliver advice and work well within a team.

Professionals with a background as CEO, Finance Director, C-Suite executive as well as divisional head of large corporates tend to be well positioned for non-executive appointments because of the generalist business and leadership, strategic and financial planning skills that these roles require.

Related posts: How to become an effective non-executive director; What Does a Firm Want from Their NED?

The professional disciplines and skills currently in demand on UK boards

In a NEDonBoard event, Shelley Whitehead, an experienced non-executive director, charity trustee and multi-academy trust recruitment specialist outlined some of the skills that are currently highly demanded. We also collected data from the NEDonBoard jobs board to identify what skillsets are currently wanted.

Both Shelley Whitehead and NEDonBoard note that while sector expertise remains important, boards increasingly emphasize transferrable and diverse skills. NEDonBoard views this trend positively as it contributes to greater cognitive diversity on boards and therefore better boardroom discussions and debates.

UK boards are currently looking to add the following skillsets:

  • Transformation, change management and restructuring
  • IT infrastructure, technology, and digital skills
  • Governance
  • Risk management
  • Legal & compliance, to the extent that the expertise relates to the sector for which the candidate applies e.g., property law skills in the real estate sector
  • HR skills

Related post: Charity governance, Fundraising and Trusteeship

Are you looking to secure your first NED role? If you would like to start your transition to non-executive directorship with ease, confidence, and success, we invite you to watch the webinar How to secure your first NED role. Register at this link.

Not yet a member? Join the Institute of Board Members and professional membership and development body for NEDs and board members.

Written by Elise Perraud, NEDonBoard COO