Head-hunters Caution

1st June 2011

A recent study completed by InterExec, an organisation that works on behalf of executives seeking careers earning £200k and over, shows 65% of head-hunters disagree with the suggestions for positive discrimination on behalf of female executive board membership.

The InterExec study was conducted following the release of a report by Lord Davies in which the benefits of diversity in the board room were discussed. In the publication, Davies called on Board Chairs and Chief Executives to actively promote the inclusion of women in the board room, through positive discrimination if need be.

The InterExec study surveyed 100 senior executive head-hunters from throughout the UK, and showed that most did not agree that board-level jobs should not go unchallenged to females. In fact, some 89% of those surveyed believe that positive discrimination for expediting the placement of women in the board room will result in the most qualified candidates being turned away.

Additionally, 70% of the survey participants indicated that recruitment specifically to increase the presence of women in the board room is not practical. Managing director of InterExec, Kit Scott-Brown, agrees, stating clearly that she believes discrimination – positive or negative – should not play a role in selection of board members, and that “Positive discrimination could mean that the best candidate could lose out on a board room position, which I feel is wrong.”

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