By Daniel Hunter

Forty percent of the top bosses in the UK were born outside the UK, according to the recruitment firm Robert Half.

Robert Half analysed the FTSE 100 and found forty of the companies' chief executives were born abroad.

Among the most high profile names is Marks & Spencer boss Marc Bolland, who was born in Amsterdam. The chief executive of the world's biggest iron ore mining firm, Rio Tinto, was born in Australia.

Of the 101 chief executives (including two co-CEOs at travel firm TUI), 61 were born in the UK. The remaining 40 were born in a wide variety of nations, including USA, Chile, South Africa, Greece and Jordan.

Robert Half's research on FTSE 100 bosses found that the average tenure is five years and two months. Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, has been at the helm far longer than any other FTSE 100 CEO, having led the firm since 1983.

It also found that the average FTSE 100 chief executive is a 54-year old white male with a background in finance. Twenty percent were educated at Oxford or Cambridge and a third have an MBA or PHD.

"Professionals with an education or background in finance are highly sought after by organisations and demand continues to outweigh supply in today’s job market,” said Phil Sheridan, UK managing director at Robert Half.

The study also found that the number of women leading FTSE 100 companies was rising slowly, but needs to improve. There are now five female CEOs, which is an improvement on recent years, but is "out of proportion with the improvements being made at director and senior management level, where women now take 23.5% of FTSE 100 board members, up from 12.5% in 2011."