There is a stark mismatch between the skill sets on boards and the challenges organisations face says the Harvey Nash Board Survey 2014/15

October 10, 2014

10th November 2014, London – Harvey Nash Executives Search’s Board Practice has published a new report that casts new light on the changing role of Non-Executive Directors as the corporate environment demands more transparency, accountability and diversity in its board room. Key findings from the research, which is based on data and interviews with hundreds of board members across the UK, include:
  1. There is a stark mismatch between the skill sets on boards and the challenges organisations face – Over half of the companies asked thought digital, talent management and corporate reputation / brand were increasingly becoming issues, less than one in ten board members come from a background where they would have these expertise.  Board diversity doesn’t just come in the form of different genders or ethnicity but in experience too.
  2. Many new non-executives are ill-prepared for the role – Three in ten new board members were not prepared for the fact that they were not able to offer the expert advice they thought, and over a third did not anticipate the amount of time there were expected to give and how the Board worked.
  3. The influence of the old boys’ network may be fading – Two thirds of respondents went through a formal recruitment process and were unknown to the organisation.  However, 79 per cent of the women that responded went through a formal recruitment process compared to just 57 per cent of men, so there is still work to be done.
  4. Chairs are relatively dissatisfied with the talent on offer – Only one in five Chairs were ‘very satisfied’ with the pool of talent offered to them and a further six in ten were ‘moderately’ satisfied, but they may just be using the wrong criteria. Some basic assessment of candidates’ expertise and therefore suitability is not assessed fully by all parties involved.
Christine de Largy, Chair of the UK Board Practice, said “we know that organisations are working hard to appoint more diverse boards but there is still much more to be done. The importance of formal board assessments, opening up the brief to include more diverse candidates and identifying robust assessment criteria are critical to  align the strategic objectives  with the  appoint of non-executives who can add real value.”
To receive a full copy of the survey please complete this form

About the research: 
(i) The Harvey Nash Board Survey 2014/15 collected data between 3rd March and 26th June 2014 and represents the views of 221 Non-Executive Directors and chairs from across the UK. Of the respondents, 55 per cent identified themselves as Non-Executive Directors, 7 per cent as Chairs and 38 per cent said they held both positions. 
(ii) For more information about the survey and to request a full copy of the results, please complete this form
Media Relations contacts: 
Michelle Smith 
Marketing and Digital, Harvey Nash plc 
+44 (0)20 7333 0033 
About Harvey Nash’s Board Practice 
Harvey Nash Board Practice helps some the world’s most forward-thinking companies attract, assess and develop their board. We are experts at building rich, diverse teams and look beyond the norm to find the exceptional. We provide two key service offerings: evaluation – reviewing the effectiveness of existing boards; and recruitment – finding exceptional talent to add strength to the boardroom team. Find out more at
Nigel Parslow 
Managing Director 
Executive Search 
+44 (0)20 7333 1575 
Christine de Largy 
UK Board Practice
+44 (0)20 7314 2023