FTSE 100 companies want homegrown technology talent for top role

Study shows

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 per cent from 55 per cent last year and the lowest level in three years. Of those CEOs with a financial background, nearly half (19 per cent 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 per cent of FTSE 100 CEOs have been promoted to the top position from within the company, while 11 per cent 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 per cent.

“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.”

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