A study compiled last year found that 82% of organisations in the UK that have boards recruited a new board member in the last 12 months. Frankly, I find that hard to believe. A similar Australian study found that the number was 50% – that seems more reasonable. In that case, that means there are tens of thousands of board vacancies filled each and every year. That is the good news. So the question is not ‘Are there board opportunities available?’ but should instead be ‘How and where can I find them?’ One route is via advertised opportunities. However, if you have ever looked for an advertised board vacancy, you will have discovered that they are not easy to find.
Finding UK Board Vacancies can be difficult
Less than 20% of board vacancies are advertised either by the recruiting organisation directly or via the recruitment firm hired to source candidates. Whilst there are more successful ways to get appointed, if you are serious about gaining a board role, then you will, at some point, need to find and respond to advertised opportunities. In the first instance, though, you will need to find them. This article will show you where to find them.
Where to find advertised board vacancies – All sectors
- Print Media – First, you should watch the daily and weekly newspapers – The Times, The Guardian and weekend national papers such as The Sunday Times.
- Organisations – At times, advertised board vacancies appear in industry or trade magazines. Although, today they are more likely to be advertised via industry newsletters, websites and/or social media pages. My advice is first to have a list of your target organisations, then subscribe to the newsletters and social media feeds of those organisations and affiliated industry bodies.
- Job vacancy websites – will often have listings for board vacancies. These sites include Monster, Indeed and Jora, but there are many more. Keeping up with these and regularly checking suitable vacancies can be tedious and time-consuming. On some, you may also find the search and filtering functions limiting when searching for board director, committee, trustee and governance roles. Initially, you may need to keep an eye on a number of them until you can select just those that list the most suitable vacancies for your board aspirations.
- LinkedIn – is where more and more recruitment firms and individual recruiters advertise board vacancies.
- Recruitment firms – Whilst it is near impossible to follow every recruiter that may currently or in the future advertise a board role that you are interested in, you should subscribe to recruiter websites or their socials in order to gain alerts for new opportunities.
Where to find advertised board vacancies – Not for Profit
If you are specifically interested in Not-for-Profit or charity roles, you could use Charity Jobs or Not for Profit People. They list board, committee and trustee roles, but sometimes it isn’t easy to find them specifically.
The Charity Commission’s website is another resource. Whilst it doesn’t provide vacancy information, it does list all registered charities in England & Wales. The listings provide relevant information about the organisation that can help you narrow down which organisations to focus your attention on. Once you have your list of organisations you are interested in serving on the board of, you should subscribe to their socials and emails in order to be alerted to future opportunities. This is particularly the case for membership based/peak bodies as well.
Where to find advertised board vacancies – Commercial Organisations
Commercial organisations statistically advertise their board roles the least. When they do, they can be found utilising most of the advice I have provided above. However, if this is an area you want to focus your board career on, I recommend you get a little more proactive.
- Connect with PE or VC firms – they often look for board/advisory board members who they can rely upon to govern their investments.
- Professional service firms are also good sources for advertised board vacancies, think legal and accounting firms.
- There are also a couple of small consultancies around who will promise to give you access to board vacancies – but a word of warning they often want ‘value add directors’. This is code for a capital raising exercise where you, as a potential board member, are asked to invest in the company in order to gain a board seat … sneaky!
- You will have likely seen an influx of online businesses that purport to ‘connect’ you with board opportunities. They often promise the world and have shiny websites. I am thoroughly sceptical of their success and have had negative feedback from many who have paid their fees. The problem with their model is that they are reliant upon 1. finding organisations that have the need for new board members and 2. Are willing to use the services offered by these businesses. This is far harder to do than you might expect – ask any board recruiter! As such, I just don’t see the ROI on these sites. To me, they over-promise and vastly under-deliver.
Board Vacancies – Government
If you are interested in public appointments, then there are several websites you can utilise.
Board Vacancies – Recruiters
Whilst not technically ‘advertising’ board vacancies, recruiters, headhunters or executive search firms might be a good place to focus your attention. It would be convenient if there were just a small handful of firms with some sort of monopoly on the board recruitment space; however, there is not. There are around 3870 executive search firms in the UK, many of whom do the occasional board member recruitment assignment.
Our team finds Advertised Board Vacancies in the UK for you
Since its inception, Board Appointments UK has sourced and listed 15,000+ board vacancies for 5000+ individual organisations. Our team (not robots) compiles the UK’s largest and most diverse list of advertised board vacancies. This allows you access to all the advertised board vacancies in one place. We also emailed you each week – saving you time and ensuring you never miss an opportunity.
About the Author
David Schwarz is CEO & Founder of Board Appointments – The UK’s leading board advertising and non-executive career support firm. He has over a decade of experience of putting people on boards as an international headhunter and a non-executive recruiter and has interviewed over one thousand non-executives and placed hundreds into some of the most significant public, private and NFP roles in the world.