Pandemic sparks shift in in-demand skills for board members

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The Covid-19 pandemic has triggered a shift in in-demand skills for board members, according to a new study.

According to the Director Sentiment Monitor study published by the Institute of Directors (IoD) in Ireland, nearly a third of business leaders say the pandemic has changed the skills and expertise required for their boards. Among the skills that should be in demand over the next two years are environment, social and governance (ESG), innovation, cybersecurity and digital expertise.

“The pandemic has affected just about every business in Ireland – like the rest of society – and this movement in terms of the expertise and experience required of board members reflects this. So while a majority (65%) of those polled in our survey say the skills and experience required on their main board of directors have not changed during the Covid-19 pandemic, a third important business leaders say they have changed, ”said Maura. Quinn, Managing Director of the Institute of Directors in Ireland.

Sensitization

“The change certainly reflects a post-Covid awareness of environmental, social and governance issues, but also considers that innovation, cybersecurity and digital expertise enhance rather than replace more ‘traditional’ skills such as strategy , corporate governance and risk management. “

The majority – 81% – believed their boards had the right mix of skills and experience to lead the business and mitigate significant risks.

Strategy, corporate governance, sales, marketing and business development remained the most common skills that board members thought they brought, with innovation, cybersecurity and data protection among the less common skills.

However, ESG and innovation were among the top three skills that respondents believed would be most desired and needed over the next two years. Cybersecurity and digital skills round out the top five, with marketing, sales and business development skills falling to sixth. Business continuity planning has also fallen to the bottom of the list of in-demand skills.

“It should also be noted that the critical importance of a solid expertise in business continuity planning was also highlighted during the pandemic, and this has served well the organizations that integrated it into the business functions. strategic planning and risk management of their boards, ”Ms. Quinn said.

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