Choose a career in governance?

People enter the governance profession from many different backgrounds. Whatever their route into the profession, or career stage, governance professionals enjoy a breadth of opportunities.

A career in governance

A career in governance

People get into governance in many different ways. Some fall into it whilst working with governance professionals in related areas such as law and finance, discover a passion for it and change careers. Some are simply given the governance brief as part of an existing role. Others choose a career in governance from the outset because it offers a rich, varied and rewarding career.

Whatever their route into the profession, or career stage, many governance professionals tell us that they love what they do because of the breadth of opportunities.

Governance professionals:

  • Work with the board and senior decision makers from the outset
  • Are at the heart of the organisation, involved in everything it does
  • Do something different every day
  • Help the organisation to do the right thing
  • Enjoy early responsibility and quick progression
  • Keep learning as governance, law and regulation constantly evolves
  • Develop in a role that has impact and makes a difference
  • Work across different sectors and internationally

What backgrounds do governance professionals come from?

People enter the governance profession from many different backgrounds. The career attracts people who have studied law, business and finance in particular, because these areas are highly relevant and connected to governance. However, anyone can train to become a governance professional from any background by developing their skills and capabilities in three areas:

  • An understanding of governance
  • The practical skills to do the job
  • The values which underpin the good governance practice.
Routes into Governance

What do governance professionals need to know?

Governance professionals need to understand a range of different subjects such as law, finance, strategy, risk, governance and compliance. To apply this knowledge, they must be commercially aware and operationally savvy, with an understanding of the sector and the wider environment in which they work. They also need a good understanding of how culture can impact an organisation’s success and how it can be improved. Much of this knowledge can be acquired through formal qualifications, like the Chartered Governance Qualifying Programme which is the international benchmark qualification for governance professionals and maintained through ongoing professional development.

Qualify in Governance

What skills do governance professionals need to develop?

Governance professionals need a broad skillset with the ability to:

  • Plan and organise
  • Anticipate and solve problems
  • Curate, distil and manage information
  • Advise others
  • Keep accurate records
  • Communicate clearly and work collaboratively
  • Listen and influence

These skills are developed through training, mentoring and practice.

What values do governance professionals need to have?

The values that underpin governance roles play a big part in attracting people to the profession and help them to succeed within it. These include the ability to do the right thing, to maintain independence and remain purposeful and open minded. These values are often supported and reinforced by professional networks that can provide independent advice and guidance. They are also reflected in the Institute’s Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics, which all members and students uphold.

Competency Framework for Governance Professionals
what can governance professionals and company secretaries earn

What can governance professionals and company secretaries earn?

The salaries for governance professionals vary, as with many jobs, depending upon location, sector and the kind of organisation that you work for. Trainees in the UK and Ireland can expect to earn an average of £24,000-30,000 in the corporate sector and £20,000-26,000 in the public sector and not for profit organisations. This rises to anywhere between £80,000-300,000 for a qualified and experienced company secretary.

Many organisations will also offer study support, paying for exam and tuition fees and granting study time. To discover more about salaries for governance professionals in the UK, look at the annual surveys produced by the specialist recruitment companies. Search online for the latest salary and well-being surveys for governance professionals published by BWW Recruitment, The Core Partnership, DMJ Recruitment and Hays Company Secretarial.