Life in the Boardroom: what Chairs and NEDs say about boardroom issues in 2023

May 16, 2023


We are preparing for the launch of our biennial Chair and Non-Executive Directors Survey  ‘Life in the Boardroom 2023-2024’.  As part of our preparations, we reached out to past participants for their opinions on current issues facing boardrooms.

The pandemic thrust many companies into remote working, and for most companies it is here to stay, at least to some degree. Respondents showed an evenly distributed concern for the effectiveness of different working arrangements and the changes since COVID which have been kept.

Answers expressed interest in what attitudes and arrangements companies now have for remote working. Some believe that a mix is best, suggesting that remote working can be more time-efficient, but in-person work allows for more effective meetings, supervision, and learning. Last year, 75% said that virtual meetings were effective or very effective:

On a scale of 1-5 (5 being the most interesting) 75% of participants ranked the importance of cyber security to the Chair/NED role as a 4 or 5. It was reflected that technology, particularly cyber threats are a priority matter and/or should receive more attention from their companies than they currently do. The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau report that cyber crime cost the UK £4.1b in the year to April 2023.

Many highlighted concerns with over-regulation, spending too much time ‘ticking boxes’ instead of adding value; a very frequent concern also much mentioned by respondents of previous editions of Life in the Boardroom.

Some commentators said that there should be a limit on the number of NED positions an individual should take, although respondents’ ranking of interest in the issue of over-boarding was roughly equal from 1 to 5.

Unsurprisingly, given poor growth and harsh inflation, respondents showed great concern for the effects of the economy on their companies. Much interest was shown in the effect of the macroeconomic environment on retention and recruitment, as 73% ranked it as 4 or 5 out of 5. Likewise, 68% ranked the effect of the macroeconomic environment on remuneration policy as 4 or 5 out of 5.

In line with diversity’s global primacy in incentive plans (as found in our 2023 ESG research) there were multiple comments concerning boardroom diversity, asking if diversity policies are designed well enough to allow boards access to a range of talents without also blocking out the best candidates. We found last year that many boards have progress to make, with only 22% of respondents being women and over 80% of Chairs and NEDs being over 55.

Life in the Boardroom 2023-2024

*Update:

MM&K has now launched the 2023 Life in the Boardroom survey, a “must have” for all Non-Executive Directors. The 80+ page unique report provides a detailed and accurate picture from the people who experience life in the boardroom first-hand. Participate to obtain a free copy of the full report.

Participate to receive a free copy of the 80+ page report

Deadline to participate: 11th August 2023.

Report completion: November 2023

This is a “Must Have” publication for all Non-Executives. Our survey will help you to be ready for new challenges Non-Executive Directors are facing. Participants receive a free copy of the report once published.

Who would benefit from the report?

  • Current NEDs
  • Those aspiring to become NEDs
  • Boards and their HR departments seeking to recruit NEDs
  • Those advising companies on the recruitment and remuneration of NEDs
  • Organisations established to support businesses and their directors.

Download a preview and find out more about Life in the Boardroom here or to enquire about participating, please contact Margarita Skripina.

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