5. Maintaining skills and experience a priority

Only 13% of NEDs believe that the recent governance developments have pointed to the need for new skills and experience on Boards.

Nevertheless, over one third of NEDs feel their Boards do not currently have the right skills and experience.

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Which skills and experience are most important?

When asked about the relative importance of various skills, competencies and attributes on the Board, the NEDs singled out strategic acumen as the most important by some distance, followed by financial, industry, risk management, executive leadership and operational expertise.

Only a small proportion considered skills such as cyber, IT/digital, ESG (Environmental, social and corporate governance) and marketing to be very important. A number of NEDs commented, however, on the need to source this expertise externally or otherwise gain a sufficient depth of understanding.

Certain aspects of Board diversity are also seen as relatively less crucial.  For example, only 14% believe cultural diversity is very important and only 9% in relation to age diversity. 

Promoting refreshment

When asked to select the top three ways to effectively promote Board refreshment:

  • The most popular method was through frank and confidential feedback, when provided to the Chair (65%) or a trusted 3rd party (54%).          

  • Just over half (54%) of the NEDs selected the disclosure of a Board ‘skills matrix’ and 

  • Half selected the use of limits on director terms (while very few NEDs agreed with one year appointments or a compulsory retirement age).

A number of NEDs commented on the need to regularly - and possibly more than ever - review the composition of the Board and build good succession plans.

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Peter van Dongen

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Tel: +61 (2) 8266 3378

Mike Codling

Partner, PwC Australia

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Debra Frances

Senior Executive Advisor, Risk Consulting, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 421 056 456

Emma Grogan

Partner, People and Organisation, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 (2) 8266 2420

Michelle Kam

Partner, Strategy& Australia

Tel: +61 (2) 8266 1299

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