Financial services FTSE 100 CEOs falling behind on tech knowledge

With widespread disruption from new and emerging technologies facing companies, the financial services sector is still lacking in CEOs with a background in technology.

  • CEOs at FTSE 100 financial services companies lacking a background in technology
  • In contrast, CEOs with a background in technology have increased 27% across the FTSE 100
  • Diversity remains a significant challenge for the sector

London, 8th August – With widespread disruption from new and emerging technologies facing companies, the financial services sector is still lacking in CEOs with a background in technology, according to recent analysis from specialist recruitment firm, Robert Half UK

According to the results of the annual Robert Half FTSE 100 CEO Tracker, not one of the CEOs leading the FTSE 100’s financial services companies has a background in technology. In contrast, the proportion of CEOs with a background in technology across all sectors has increased by 27% over the past year, as the impact of digitisation is felt across multiple industries and sectors. 

The survey highlights the importance of traditional skillsets that dominate financial services, with 100% of CEOs in the sector possessing a financial background. This compares to 52% of CEOs across all sectors. Beyond this, a low proportion of CEOs have experience across multiple sectors; only 4% of CEOs have a background in marketing and advertising, while 9% have a retail and hospitality background.

Charlie Grubb, Executive Search Managing Director, Robert Half UK commented:
“With digital disruption transforming all sectors, established businesses need to embrace technology if they are to compete with the new wave of tech-enabled start-ups. Leaders are needing to navigate this increasingly competitive landscape, while also surrounding themselves with the expertise to effectively manage the change within their own company. Within financial services, this could mean re-evaluating the candidate mix to future-proof their business in the future of work.”

The survey also revealed the need for greater diversity within financial services. Out of the current financial services companies in the FTSE 100, there are no female CEOs, and more than a third (35%) are Oxbridge educated, compared to one in five (18%) across all sectors. 

Charlie Grubb continued: “While significant progress has been made by the industry as a whole, financial services like other industries are still looking to improve their diversity at the top. Businesses we work with are strengthening their drive for diversity from talent attraction through to shortlisting to ensure they are tapping into a diverse pool of talent. While this won’t change overnight, an ongoing focus on the wider organisation’s talent pipeline will support this shift at the top.”

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Notes to editors

About the Robert Half FTSE 100 CEO Tracker
Robert Half conducted annual research on CEOs of the FTSE100 Index by analysing publicly available sources of information including company websites, financial and company announcements, bios and press releases about FTSE100 CEOs to track trends including their professional career backgrounds, age, gender, nationality and length of tenure. The research was analysed from the period 1 April 2018 – 31 March 2019, and all results are correct to the best of our knowledge.

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. We have once again been named to FORTUNE’s “World’s Most Admired Companies®” list and remains the top-ranked staffing firm (February 2020). Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and jobseeker resources at and