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Your Guide to Becoming a Non-Executive Director

Published 20th April 2023
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Your Guide to Becoming a Non-Executive Director

Published 20th April 2023

Are you looking to become a non-executive director? Throughout this blog you’ll be supplied with the information you’ll need to know if the job is the right fit for you. We'll share what the steps you’ll have to take to become a non-executive director are, and the primary responsibilities involved. 

What is a non-executive director?

A non-executive director is someone who doesn’t work directly for the business, they participate in policy and plan-making as independent advisors. They sit on the board of directors within the company and are typically responsible for representing the stakeholder's interests and advising the executive directors.

A non-executive director understands these interests objectively, this is important for the business as executive directors may have potential conflicts of interest between shareholders, stakeholders and management.

Steps on how to become a non-executive director

It is important to prepare for the role as a non-executive, here are the steps you should take:

  1. Update your CV and Resume

Like any other job search, you should update your cv and resume. This will help you ensure everything is in order and up-to-date before applying for any position. It is important to remember that being a non-executive director involves a lot more than operational skills, your CV should demonstrate your willingness to make a judgment and decision through an objective, data-driven methodology. 

  1. Experience

Searching for your first position as a non-executive director can be difficult, due to the high calibre of (often experienced) competition. It is important to try and get experience in this line of work or a line of work which has similar skills. Try to do anything to increase your chances of getting your role as a non-executive director.

Many people find pro-bono work as the best way to their first NED role. We can’t overstate how important networking is in getting your NED roles. Well over 90% of NED roles are via word-of-mouth or personal networks. Make sure you work on this aspect of your job search.

Attend industry events, conferences, and seminars to meet people who may be able to help you in your job search. Use online networking tools such as LinkedIn to connect with professionals in your field and build relationships with them. You can also consider joining relevant industry associations or boards to increase your visibility and expand your network.

It's important to be proactive in reaching out to people and maintaining relationships, as this can help you gain access to potential job opportunities and referrals.

  1. Prepare for the Interview

Ensure that you practice for your interview. Getting an interview for your first non-executive director position is a great accomplishment, but you don’t want to get this far and not succeed. 

A key thing to remember in your interview is to discuss your relevant experience and explain how this experience will help you in this line of work. What lessons have you learned? How will you use this knowledge to define your future behaviour?

Value should be a word you use a lot in an interview. Demonstrate your value. Your ability to deliver a return on investment. Like most roles, it is this that will help the hiring team understand how you can facilitate well-governed growth.

Primary Responsibilities

Some key information to understand before applying for a role as a non-executive director are the primary responsibilities. They include:

Performance Evaluations

A big part of being a NED involves assessing how well the management team has been performing, regarding achieving goals, targets, and objectives. Additionally, this job role may involve analysing the business's performance reports, ensuring they are meeting the obligations and expectations of the stakeholders.

Strategic Planning

A big part of being a NED is challenging current ideas, offering an outside viewpoint, and reviewing proposals created by the executive team, from this they give feedback. They highlight the business's external issues, in turn helping the business strategy stay on track to meet vision objectives. 

Risk Management

A non-executive director works alongside executive partners in producing frameworks and procedures for identifying risks. They solely reassure senior management that financial information is accurate and that the financial systems and controls are secure. Governance is a term used to define many NED roles.

Salary, Job Outlook, and Qualifications

If you're considering becoming a non-executive director in the UK, it's essential to know what to expect in terms of salary, job outlook, and qualifications required. While the role of a non-executive director can be rewarding, it's important to have a realistic understanding of the career path.

In terms of salary expectations, according to Spencer Stuart, non-executive directors in the UK can expect to earn an average of over £70,000 per year, depending on the size and complexity of the organisation. However, it's important to note that many non-executive roles are part-time, and the salary will reflect this.

Job outlook for non-executive directors in the UK is positive, with demand for the role increasing as businesses seek to bring in independent expertise to their boards. However, competition for roles can be high, so it's crucial to ensure that you have the necessary qualifications and experience to stand out from the crowd.

Industry-specific qualifications can vary depending on the organisation, but it's important to have a good understanding of the sector you're applying for. For example, if you're interested in a non-executive role in finance, having a background in accountancy or finance could be advantageous. Alternatively, if you're interested in non-executive roles in the public sector, having experience in public service could be valuable.

By understanding the salary expectations, job outlook, and industry-specific qualifications required for non-executive roles in the UK, you'll be better placed to make informed decisions about your career path. Remember to research thoroughly and network as much as possible to increase your chances of success in this competitive field.

If you’re looking for a non-executive director position, get in touch with a member of the Macildowie Executive Search team for help – and don’t forget to network!