Wanted: young directors to rejuvenate boardrooms
Boardrooms await younger talent (pic: Benjamin Child)
A lack of young talent in the boardroom is becoming a major issue for companies, according to a new report.
The average age of a director of a listed company based in Scotland is 59 – and 56 for privately-owned companies.
The scale of the boardroom age issue and the problems with rectifying it have been highlighted in a research paper titled “Boards of the future: what next for governance?”
The report was compiled by law firm Burness Paull in partnership with board consultancy Savendie following a series of debates and interviews with chairmen, executive and non-executive directors and company secretaries in listed and private companies in Scotland.
While many participants cited positive progress in boardroom diversity in terms of gender and ethnicity in recent years, a lack of young talent coming through the pipeline emerged as a key concern.
Only a handful of the participants had experience of directors under the age of 30 on their boards – but all spoke highly of the contribution and benefit that was brought to the table by the younger members.
Contributors highlighted that much of what younger individuals lacked in business and governance experience could be enhanced by training – and that the fresh insight they provided was felt to be extremely beneficial.
Other challenges included the increasing burden of reporting to meet regulations, skills shortages at boardroom level, the role of non-executive directors and meeting environmental, social and governance commitments.