ASX 200 vs FTSE 100 – How does Australia compare to the UK?

The CEOs of the current ASX 200 share some interesting similarities and differences with their UK counterparts in the FTSE 100. Read more here.

Robert Half CEO Tracker 2018

  • 20% of ASX 200-listed CEOs are new appointments in 2018, compared to 14% in the FTSE 100 
  • 60% of ASX 200 vs 40% of FTSE 100 CEOs were promoted internally 
  • 47% of the ASX 200 vs 40% of FTSE 100 CEOs have a background in finance  

New research published by specialised recruiter Robert Half reveals the background and experience of current ASX 200 CEOs in the annual Robert Half CEO Tracker – with some interesting similarities and differences found amongst the CEOs of the ASX 200 and their UK counterparts in the FTSE 100. 

What do the ASX 200 and FTSE 100 CEOs have in common?
Education is highly similar in Australia and the UK, as 82% of ASX 200 and 80% of FTSE 100 CEOs have an undergraduate qualification. Taking their education and business acumen to the next level, 23% of ASX 200 and 24% of FTSE 100 CEOs have an MBA. 

There’s a significant level of executive turnover and organisational movement across both the ASX 200 and FTSE 100, with 17 new companies listed and 40 new CEOs from the previous year on the ASX 200, and 14 new companies and CEOs in the FTSE 100 compared to 2017. 

The high level of turnover coincides with the rather short tenure length, as 63% of ASX 200 and 55% of FTSE 100 CEOs have been in the role for less than five years – with the average tenure length being five years and eight months for the ASX 200 and five years and two months for the FTSE 100 CEOs. Merely 12% of the ASX 200 and 11% of the FTSE 100 CEOs have served in the organisation for more than 10 years.

How do the CEOs of the ASX 200 and FTSE 100 differ?
Loyalty has its rewards and promoting from within the organisation seems more common for Australian business leaders as 60% of ASX 200 CEOs were promoted internally. However, hiring talent from outside the business offers benefits, such as a broader range of experience in different industries, a new perspective and new skillsets. Indeed, less than half (40%) of FTSE 100 CEOs rose through the ranks of the company internally. 

Providing unique business insights from a financially strategic viewpoint is still a top priority for both the ASX 200 and FTSE 100 companies, with more CEOs in the ASX 200 (47%) having a background in finance compared to the FTSE 100 CEOs (40%). While finance remains a popular background, this figure is shrinking. The number of ASX 200 CEOs with a financial background has dropped 3% from 50% in 2017, and there has been a drop of 15% in two years amongst the FTSE 100 CEOs compared to 43% in 2017 and 55% in 2016. 

While a financial background is crucial for leaders to navigate complex economic and monetary conditions, the shrinking percentage of CEOs from a financial background may be an indication that companies are considering diverse skillsets that can be applied to changing business dynamics, such as digital acumen and innovative vision. However, despite the push towards more technologically-savvy leadership, only 8% of ASX 200 CEOs come from a technology background, compared to 11% of the FTSE 100. 

David Jones, Senior Managing Director of Robert Half Asia Pacific said: “While there are certain characteristics that make for a successful CEO – such as education and experience – other factors may no longer be the set criteria for the leaders of the future such as background and internal promotion. The business and commercial landscape of Australia continues to evolve, so there’s no doubt that with more millennials assuming leadership roles, executive qualities of the country’s top business leaders will continue to evolve as well.”

Charlie Grubb, UK Managing Director at Robert Half Executive Search said: “We’re seeing an evolving leadership landscape whereby traditional backgrounds may no longer be the set criteria for leading the top firms of the future. Global experience, education and values such as loyalty and tenure, however, will always be important, especially as millennials come to the forefront and take up leadership positions in their own right. There will always be strong demand for robust leadership which can deliver profitability and create a sustainable advantage against competitors.”

  ASX 200 CEOs  FTSE 100 CEOs
New additions  20%  14%
Internal promotion 60%  40%
Background in finance 47% 40%
Background in technology 8% 11%
Tenure – 5 years or less 63% 55%
Undergraduate degree 82%  80%
MBA  23% 24%

Source: Annual research conducted by Robert Half on the ASX 200 and FTSE 100 CEOs.

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About the Robert Half ASX 200 CEO Tracker
Robert Half has conducted research on CEOs of the ASX 200 by analysing publicly-available sources of information about ASX 200 CEOs to track trends including their professional and educational background, gender, and length of tenure. The research was analysed from the period 31st May 2018 – 20th July 2018, and all results are correct to the best of our knowledge.

The information within the ASX 200 CEO Tracker is based on publicly available information. Where possible, the information has been checked and verified by the offices of the CEOs.

About the Robert Half FTSE 100 CEO Tracker
Robert Half conducted annual research on CEOs of the FTSE 100 Index by analysing publicly available sources of information about FTSE 100 CEOs to track trends including their professional career backgrounds, age, gender, nationality and length of tenure. The research was analysed from the period 1st March 2017 – 31st March 2018, and all results are correct to the best of our knowledge.

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Gabrielle Nagy 
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