Pale, male and stale’ rule the executive roost

A report from recruitment specialist Executives Online has found that half of the board directors and senior HR people surveyed said they believed finding someone with the right cultural fit was key to picking the right person for an executive job. This narrow approach could be cutting out the executive talent firms need.

A report from recruitment specialist Executives Online has found that half of the board directors and senior HR people surveyed said they believed finding someone with the right cultural fit was key to picking the right person for an executive job. This narrow approach could be cutting out the executive talent firms need.

This preoccupation with culture over capability reduces the talent pool, yet 60% of respondents said they had trouble finding people with the right experience and over a quarter said they couldn’t find the people managers they need.

‘If you click on management team pages on 99% of UK companies' websites, you will find a Who's Who? of the Old Boy’s network,’ says Zena Martin, managing director of diversity consultancy Acknowledge Communications.

‘Organisations that flourish the most are ones that genuinely and actively recruit a new perspective from their incoming employees. Rather than looking for new blood that fits your existing culture, be willing to change your culture. Otherwise, not only will your management teams be stale, but so will your revenues.’

This lack of diversity leads all the way to the boardroom. A quarter of the FTSE 100 companies don’t have any women board members, according to a November report from Cranfield School of Management.

Firms need to take a closer look at their recruitment and HR policies to prevent lazy head-hunters automatically putting forward “safe” candidates.

‘The end result is what many refer to as “pale, male and stale” recruits,’ says Norrie Johnston, managing director of Executives Online.
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