Why the search is on for more female Non-executive Directors

Executive search firms in the UK are reaching out beyond the usual suspects. Your business or social enterprise skills could be what we are looking for. This article outlines why gender-balanced leadership is in demand and introduces two non-executive directorships at Kent Community Health NHS Trust currently being recruited.

Smart organisations know that gender-balanced leadership isn’t just an equal opportunities issue, it’s also directly linked to better performance. Organisations with good numbers of women at the top do better on every level: higher sales, better morale and stronger governance. And organisations where the leadership reflects the diversity of users are more responsive to the range of needs.

The business case for more female leaders is now accepted at the top of Government and across much of the corporate sector. Several European countries, including Norway, France and Spain, have enshrined gender quotas for top firms in law. Here in the UK Government has set firm voluntary targets of 25% female directors for our largest companies, by 2015. We’re getting there, though perhaps a little too slowly.

Public appointments are already on target. Last year women made up 37% of appointments to public sector boards. It’s still a challenge for recruiters though; suitable women are more likely to underestimate their abilities and less likely to put themselves forward for those roles.

A new voluntary code of conduct on gender diversity is encouraging more executive search firms to reach out beyond the usual suspects. The code encourages aspirational goals on gender balance and consideration of a broader range of skills, competencies and capabilities, beyond the traditional focus on corporate career experience. Women who’ve run their own business, managed non-profit organisations or had senior careers in professional services or academia, might find their skills are a good match for board level appointments. Good executive search firms will also provide support to help you prepare for interview, especially if you’re a first time candidate.

Ultimately board appointments have to be made on merit. Good recruiters are working harder to bring a wider pool of candidates to the table.

Kent Community Health NHS Trust

Kent Community Health NHS Trust (KCHT), one of the largest NHS community health providers in England, is currently recruiting two Non-Executive Director posts. They are keen to highlight the role widely, and to encourage applications from women.

KCHT are looking for two outstanding individuals to serve as Non-executive Directors on their Board:

  • Clinical Care – for this role clinical acumen, qualifications and experience gained within a complex healthcare setting will be required.
  • Change Management – senior level involvement in leading workforce cultural and organisational change gained at board level in a large complex organisation or very senior management level in a very large complex organisation is required.

Both roles will need governance and strategic planning experience, a proven ability to understand complex strategic issues, and experience of dealing with quality, risk and performance management.

These are exceptional opportunities to share your talents and expertise to make a positive difference to the lives of people in your community.

Both roles will involve travel to locations when KCHT provide services throughout the county of Kent and elsewhere. It is therefore essential that candidates live in an area where this can be facilitated.

Closing date: 3rd February 2014 at 11am. These posts are Public Appointments, the NHS Trust Development Authority has delegated authority to appoint.

For more information about the role, organisation and application process, including application form, please visit www.acertus.co.uk/kcht. Informal and confidential enquires are welcomed, please contact either Eleanor Hudson or Linda McCue at Acertus Search and Select on 01730 266208 or by emailing Eleanor.hudson@acertus.co.uk.

1 thought on “Why the search is on for more female Non-executive Directors”

  1. There definitely has been an increase in the demand and acquisition of Women as Non-Executive Directors. According to some reports, it has been noted that Women are more risky in the boardroom than Men. These type of risks can be taken from two sides of the fence, however Females as NEDs can prove to be the catalyst in any decision making process.


Leave a comment