FTSE 100 companies want homegrown technology talent for top role, reveals Robert Half

  • One in 10 CEOs has a background in technology
  • Loyalty pays as the number of CEOs being promoted from within doubles in three years
  • Generational shift occurring as number of CEOs in their 40’s shrinks
  • Average FTSE 100 CEO remains a British male in his 50s with a background in finance

London, UK – 9 May 2017 – Specialist recruitment firm, Robert Half UK, has revealed the number of CEOs with a financial background is falling as firms put more sway into technology skills. The annual Robert Half FTSE 100 CEO Tracker shows that in the last four years the number of CEOs with a technology background has trebled as businesses prepare to compete in an increasingly digital economy. In 2014, only three CEOs had a background in technology while today this number has increased to 11. The majority of CEOs continue have a background in finance, although this figure has fallen to 43% from 55% last year and the lowest level in three years. Of those CEOs with a financial background, nearly half (19% of the total) are Chartered Accountants.

The research revealed that there is a generational shift occurring in the FTSE 100. There are now just eight CEOs under the age of 50 on the FTSE 100, a quarter less than in 2010 when there were 33 CEOs under the age of 50. The typical age of a CEO is 55 years old and the average tenure is five years and two months. Organisations are also looking to nurture homegrown talent as the number of CEOs being promoted from within has doubled in the last three years. In total, 41% of FTSE 100 CEOs have been promoted to the top position from within the company, while 11% have been in the company for their whole career. Conversely, the number of CEOs who have held the top position at multiple companies has dropped to its lowest level in three years, standing at 16%.

“With digital transformation, automation and GDPR offering challenges and opportunities, growth remains the number one priority for all businesses – small and large,” commented Phil Sheridan, senior managing director, Robert Half UK. “Strong leadership that can deliver profitability and create a sustainable advantage against competitors and new market entrants is key. As a result, all businesses are thinking carefully about who is positioned at the helm of the company and if he or she has the skills needed to navigate a complex business environment. Increasingly, CEOs who can combine current industry knowledge with the commercial acumen needed to navigate the fast pace of change is key.”

The study found that it is no longer necessary to have attended Oxford or Cambridge to achieve a CEO position. Since 2010, the number of CEOs with an Oxbridge education has declined from 23% to 17%. MBAs and other post graduate qualifications are also not a pre-requisite for achieving a top leadership position, with just under a quarter (23%) have an MBA and only four hold a PhD.

However, when it comes to leadership roles at publicly traded companies, it's no exaggeration to say it's still very much a male dominated world. Only seven of the CEOs currently leading FTSE 100 companies are women, increasing by from four in 2014. Additional findings revealed that the average FTSE 100 CEO is from the UK (65%), male (93%) and is likely to have held a senior role in the same industry (64%).

- ENDS -

Notes to editors

1 All information based on analysis of publicly available sources of information analysed from the period 1st April 2016 – 30th April 2017.

A slideshare presentation is also available highlighting the key findings of this year’s FTSE 100 CEO Tracker by Robert Half.

About the Robert Half FTSE 100 CEO Tracker

Robert Half has conducted annual research on CEOs of the FTSE 100 by analysing publicly available sources of information about FTSE 100 CEOs to track trends including their professional career backgrounds, age, gender, nationality and length of tenure. The research was analysed from the period 1st April 2016 – 30th April 2017, 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 roberthalf.co.uk and twitter.com/roberthalfuk.