Frances Ball 11 Jul 2019 12:48pm

Accountancy and MBAs top qualifications for FTSE 100 CEOs

A quarter of FTSE 100 CEOs hold MBAs – the highest proportion since 2016 –and 20% are chartered accountants, a new report has shown

Despite businesses contending with intense technological change, traditional qualifications still carry substantial weight, according to Robert Half’s annual FTSE 100 CEO Tracker.

Although business and finance-focused qualifications have remained valuable for CEOs, other postgraduate qualifications are now less common.

Only 5% of current FTSE 100 CEOs have a PhD, half the number that held one five years ago, while just 8% hold an MA.

Oxbridge dominates the FTSE 100, with 18% of CEOs having graduated from one of the two universities – a figure that has remained the same for years.

Increasingly, prospective CEOs with a long history at the company have been rewarded for longevity.

Of new appointments last year, 70% were internal promotions. Almost half of CEOs overall were already at the company before they took the top job.

“While traditional qualifications still carry significant weight when it comes to executive positions, it is undeniable that the future of work is changing, and with it, the make-up of the traditional CEO,” said Charlie Grubb, Robert Half Executive Search’s UK managing director.

“Digitalisation, regulatory changes and the continuously changing nature of businesses means that CEOs must continue to evolve at a rapid pace, alongside their companies. Successfully adapting and keeping up with the changing face of businesses will require CEOs with strong leadership skills such as effective communication, as well as a right blend of soft and hard skills. This will allow them to succeed in a more digitally enhanced future.

“Traditional qualifications, experience in relevant sectors and expertise will continue to remain important factors going forward, however adaptability to change and willingness to evolve alongside the marketplace will distinguish between those businesses that succeed and those that do not,” he added.

In a figure that has continually risen for four years, 15% of current FTSE 100 CEOs have spent their entire careers at the same company.