Board composition: Consider the value of younger directors on your board

PwC’s Census of Directors 50 and Under

90% of directors say diversity of age is important—beating out gender, race and other forms of diversity.1 How is that translating in corporate boardrooms? Read the highlights from our report to find new statistics on younger directors in the boardroom.

So, who are the Younger Directors?

There are 315 Younger Directors* in the S&P 500. Together, they fill 348 board seats in the index. Of these 348 Younger Director seats, 260 are filled by independent Younger Directors. Forty-one of these (16%) are nominated under a shareholder agreement—usually with an activist or private equity investor, or with a significant family shareholder. 

Younger Directors = Directors aged 50 or under serving on an S&P 500 board as of December 29, 2017.

More than half of the independent Younger Directors come from the financial and information technology sectors

Independent Younger Directors come from a range of industries, but the majority work in the financial or information technology sector.

More than half of the independent Younger Directors have held their board seat for two years or less

Only 18% have been on the board for more than five years.

Women are making their mark

Women comprise a much larger percentage of Younger Directors than S&P 500 directors overall.2 Among just the independent Younger Directors, the percentage of women is even higher, at 37%.

...but not in every group

But, while female Younger Directors continue to gain more of a foothold in the boardroom, nine out of 10 times, when a significant shareholder is nominating a Younger Director, that person is male.

How common are Younger Directors in corporate boardrooms?

Younger Directors make up just 6% of board seats in the S&P 500

Only 43% of S&P 500 public companies have at least one Younger Director on the board. In fact, Younger Directors make up only 6% of the seats on S&P 500 boards, and the average age of directors continues to rise. The average age of independent directors in the S&P 500 rose from 61 in 2007 to 63 in 2017.3

Where are you most likely to find Younger Directors?

At a company with a younger CEO

Companies with a CEO aged 50 or under are significantly more likely to have Younger Directors on the board. 

On the boards of information technology and consumer products companies

What do Younger Directors bring to the (board) table?

Younger Directors bring current executive experience to their roles

According to their companies’ SEC filings, 96% of Younger Directors cite active jobs or positions in addition to their board service.

Close to half of the independent Younger Directors have finance/investing backgrounds

Just under one-third are cited for their technology expertise, executive experience or industry knowledge. Among directors nominated under family shareholder arrangements, several are cited for their knowledge of the “history and culture” of the company.


1 PwC, 2017 Annual Corporate Directors Survey, October 2017.

2 Spencer Stuart, 2017 Spencer Stuart U.S. Board Index, December 2017.

3 Spencer Stuart, 2017 Spencer Stuart U.S. Board Index, December 2017.

Contact us

Paula Loop
Leader, PwC's Governance Insights Center, PwC US
Tel: +1 (646) 471 1881

Catherine Bromilow
Partner, Governance Insights Center, PwC US
Tel: +1 (973) 236 4120

Sharad Jain
Partner, PwC's Governance Insights Center, PwC US
Tel: +1 (313) 401 9005

Paul DeNicola
Principal, PwC’s Governance Insights Center, PwC US
Tel: +1 (646) 471 8897

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