Nearly 30,000 Irish on boards of British-based companies
Irish comprise one-in-six of foreign nationals on British boards, up 6% on previous year
American-born directors rank third in the list, with just over 19,000 sitting on British boards, while the French have 15,602 and and the Italians have 15,432
The number of Irish nationals sitting on the boards of British-based companies now stands at just below 30,000, according to an exhaustive trawl of Companies House records in London.
Once Irish nationals sitting on the boards of companies in the North are included, the number rises to 55,000, which means that Irish nationals now make up one in six of all foreign nationals sitting on British boards, more than twice that of the next nationality, Indian, who number nearly 25,000.
The Irish in UK boardrooms
The middle-aged are increasingly likely to head for the boardrooms, since the numbers aged between 51-65 sitting on company boards grew by a 10th last year. The numbers of those aged 36-50 – who comprise half of the total – grew by 6 per cent, but those in the 18-35 age group fell by 1 per cent.
The numbers were collated by Eulogy!, an Irish-owned, but London-based communications firm. “The facts in this report confirm – beyond all doubt – the reach and role the Irish community plays in UK business today,” said the company’s managing director, Adrian Brady.
The Irish base is not confined to London; Irish director numbers grew fastest last year in the northwest of England, around Manchester and Liverpool, followed by the midlands and only then by London. According to the Eulogy! Report, Irish Directors in the UK 2015, “the northwest is matching and even outstripping London’s allure, growing 10 per cent over the past year and more than 16 per cent on 2012 figures”.
Irish emigration to the UK, which peaked at 21,900 in 2013, has fallen back to 17,900 last year, but the numbers remain “strongly skewed towards the highly-educated, with a first or higher degree” who can hope to reach boardrooms in years to come, said Bronwen Walter, professor of Irish Diaspora Studies at Anglia Ruskin University.