The anatomy of a FTSE 100 chief executive: From education to where you should live

 
Emma Haslett
Follow Emma
BRITAIN-NETHERLANDS-EARNINGS-OIL-BUSINESS
Shell boss Ben van Beurden: He may be foreign, but he's a classic FTSE 100 chief executive (Source: Getty)

Reaching the corner office may take a certain amount blood, sweat and tears - but new research has suggested that it may help if you have certain qualities.

Whether it's your education, background or just where you live, the FTSE 100 CEO Tracker, by recruiter Robert Half, suggests bosses of the UK's biggest businesses all tick similar boxes (although no mention of the name Dave...).

Ready to reach the top of the career ladder? Read on...

1. Background

According to the research, more than half of Britain's biggest bosses have a background in finance or accounting - with almost a quarter being qualified chartered accountants.

On the other hand, 21 per cent rose up the ranks in retail and hospitality, 15 per cent started in engineering and natural resources, another 15 per cent were in marketing and just 14 per cent began in technology.

When it comes to reaching the top, most stayed in their sector - with 66 per cent moving from a senior role in the same industry.

2. Education

Although some bosses have worked their way up from the bottom, the majority have at least one university degree, while more than a quarter have an MBA or PhD. What's encouraging is that the number of Oxbridge graduates running FTSE 100 companies has fallen to 18 per cent, from 21 per cent in 2012, suggesting the group is becoming more diverse.

3. Age

The old adage that age equals experience continues to ring true - according to the research, the average age of a FTSE 100 boss is 55 - although the youngest is 40, while the oldest is 71.

4. Tenure

Some 70 per cent of chief executives moved to their role from another organisation - which just goes to show that loyalty doesn't always pay off (and companies tend to value experience gained in other sectors).

Once you reach the top, though, be prepared to make yourself comfortable: the average chief executive's tenure was five and a half years, according to the research.

5. Where to live

It's hardly surprising that the majority of FTSE 100 chief execs live in London - what is a little more surprising is how narrow that majority is. Some 60 per cent of the index's companies are based in the capital - which means the rest can live and work outside the capital.

6. Nationality

Some 60 per cent of the UK's top bosses are Britons, meaning you're best set to reach the top of the ladder if you're from the UK - but the research also found more than 20 nationalities are represented at the top of the UK's largest companies, from South Africa to New Zealand and the Netherlands.

Related articles