IROs divided over career options, poll suggests

Feb 26, 2018
Finance roles most popular destinations after investor relations

IROs at large US companies are almost evenly split in their preferences for three broad career paths, according to a new poll from Korn Ferry.

In a survey of 40 IROs from Fortune 500 companies, respondents say that, when considering their next career move:

– 37 percent would pursue a CFO role

– 36 percent would look at a move to another finance or functional role outside of IR

– 27 percent would consider becoming an IRO at a different company or industry.

Among the IROs taking part in the survey, the most common challenge from a career perspective – cited by 38 percent of respondents – is a lack of opportunity to progress beyond IR.

‘There is not a clear next path for many IROs,’ Richard Marshall, global managing director of Korn Ferry, tells IR Magazine. ‘The IRO role has become more multi-faceted because the business environment has become so much more complex: increased activism has combined with political instability and these are impacting business performance and having an effect on how IROs need to help their leadership team navigate such challenges.

‘The IRO role is no longer just about helping to translate the balance sheet: you have to have the skills and financial acumen to navigate that, but it is broader than that now. The other reason the majority of IROs are looking at new, increased skills is because they are looking for their next move to become a CFO – [for which] a wider skill-set is required.’

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