HR directors earning up to $481,415 as non-executive directors

If you’re an HR leader looking for your next career move, being on a board as a non-executive director (NED) could be a very lucrative option.

HR directors earning up to $481,415 as non-executive directors

The pay is great and the hours are short, but being a non-executive director can be far more challenging and exciting than it seems on the surface.

NEDs are employed to come into a company one day a month to provide strategic, specific and objective advice and being one could help you on your way to the C-Suite.

Anne De Salis, who has worked as a NED since 1996, says the role requires the ability to see the big picture and understand the business of the organisation, which isn’t always easy for those coming from specialist backgrounds.

“I find the role exciting, demanding and very satisfying, not least because of the importance of marrying capabilities and culture to the strategy a business is trying to pursue.”

For HR professionals wanting to move up the ranks, it’s important to broaden your leadership experience, she said.

Negotiating your way on to a board can be a challenge, but Women on Boards executive chair Ruth Medd said the prospects for HR professionals on boards is increasing.

“It’s not yet a common thing, but I’m hopeful that that might become the case in the future.”

Women hold less than 20% of the Top 100 board seats and make up less than one-sixth of Top 100 company directors, but highly skilled HR practitioners could help buck that trend, according to Kerry Brown, professor of HRM in the School of Management at Curtin University.

“There are quite a few women at the top in HR – a lot of highly skilled women go through the HR route – so this is an area that could encourage women to move into the boardroom with their skills.”

Top five characteristics of an exceptional NED

  1. Strong, but not domineering
  2. Strategic
  3. Able to dive into details
  4. Engaged
  5. Team-oriented, while also preserving independence

Source: Cultivating Greatness in the Boardroom: What makes an exceptional Non-Executive Director in Australasia? report, by The Korn/Ferry Institute

How much are NEDs paid?

  Non-Executive Director (2012) Non-Executive Chairperson (2012)
Top 100 average $218,434 $481,415
Top 100 median $203,250 $450,924
ASX 101–200 average $134,981 $225,534
ASX 101–200 median $115,029 $193,230

Source: Remuneration for S&P/ASX 200 non-executive directors 2012, Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI)

  • There will be a panel discussion on Positioning yourself to sit on boards: how to become a non-executive director, at the HRD Executive Leadership Forum in Sydney, 18-19 June. 

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