Qualified employees

It is important to attract employees from outside the family circle. For instance, it is not always easy to find suitable employees within the family. PwC research shows that external employees are more likely to stress the need to expand internationally, explore new markets and develop new products. It can thus be very rewarding to look beyond family members when looking for new employees.

Family at the helm

In practice, it appears to be difficult for family businesses to allow external employees to work their way into higher positions. In 83 percent of cases, the family will be the company's major shareholder and also account for the whole management team. This means family businesses become less appealing than other employers when it comes to positions below management level.


Family businesses are hampered by the image that external employees have fewer career possibilities than colleagues connected to the business due to family bonds. Fir instance, other large companies often have participation plans and reward schemes. Furthermore, non-family members seem to feel under-appreciated when family members get too involved in HR policy. When it comes to top management positions, founders tend to be rather protective towards the family business. However, this is less so the case for later generations.

Our advice

If external professionals are permitted, this will not necessarily change the identity of family businesses. The only challenge involves, on the one hand, maintaining a strong sense of family and, on the other hand, accepting external influence and exploiting the expertise these people offer. So, when looking for new employees, do not only look at their capacities and competences, also see whether they ‘fit’ with the culture of the family.

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