Blue chip bosses are a bunch of bean counters, number crunchers, and spreadsheet gurus

Hayley Kirton
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Around a quarter of FTSE 100 bosses have bean counting tendencies (Source: Getty)

What's the best gift you can get your boss?

New research released today would suggest a calculator or an "I heart spreadsheets" mug.

A study by specialist recruiter Robert Half found that nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of chief executives at FTSE 100 firms are chartered accountants, while more than half (55 per cent) have a background in finance.

Meanwhile, one in five (21 per cent) have a background in retail or hospitality, 15 per cent earned their stripes in engineering or natural resources, while another 15 per cent cut their teeth in marketing.

There's been a shift in the string of letters big bosses can place after their names however. The proportion of FTSE 100 chief executives sporting an Oxbridge education has fallen from 19 per cent to 18 per cent over the last year, while the proportion holding an MBA or PHD has dropped from 32 per cent to 28 per cent.

Read more: How accountancy is becoming a youngster’s game

The faces in the top spot are also becoming more diverse, with 20 different nationalities being represented and six women holding seats as chief executives in the FTSE 100.

"Executives within every sector are seeking ways to continue meeting their own business goals in the face of external influences including growing regulatory frameworks and geopolitical uncertainty," said Phil Sheridan, UK managing director at Robert Half. "As the leaders of Britain’s largest and most successful businesses, the individuals heading up these organisations can collectively influence the direction, confidence and economic prosperity of the wider UK economy.

"In these increasingly complex global operating environments, leaders who are able to traverse the commercial landscape while maintaining strong fiscal responsibility are in greatest demand. This trend is supported by this year’s findings where experience within a single industry combined with a foundation in finance is what organisations seek from those taking the helm."

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