4. Attracting talent getting more difficult

Across the ASX 300, almost 80% of NEDs are confident in their Board’s ability to attract new directors, many of which expressed satisfaction with the recent recruitment of both domestic and international directors.

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Despite this, the weight of free-text commentary to the contrary, pointed to a concern that attracting top people to listed Board roles is getting increasingly harder, particularly in highly regulated industries.

The talent trap is particularly revealing in financial services, with only 62% of those NEDs confident their Board can find the talent it needs; compared to 83% across other sectors.

Expectation and risk are deterrents

Close to one-third of all NEDs surveyed fear that the higher expectations being placed on directors could be a deterrent for future talent. Almost a quarter believe that the increased risk for directors, relative to reward, would also put top executives off joining a listed Board.

Unlisted Boards more inviting?

A number of NEDs commented on the relative attractiveness of private company Boards.

In the past, a seat at the Board table of one of Australia's top companies was the equivalent of an Olympic gold medal for a high performing executive.  There is some evidence that this may now be shifting, with directorships on the Board of innovative private companies emerging as a more attractive prize for many directors.  

"If Australia wants a future as an innovative and successful country, this can only be achieved by a dynamic and successful private sector, enabled by government. This requires our top ASX listed companies to be able to attract the best and brightest directors to their Boards to steer them to success. Indeed, it is in the public interest that this occur."

Peter van Dongen

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