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Public sector interim assignments are gaining ground on the private sector for the first time ever, according to figures taken from the Interim Management Associations (IMA) 2008 Annual Ipsos MORI report.
This latest increase means that the combined demand for public sector industries such as local and central government, healthcare and charity work, accounted for 45% of all completed assignments in Q4 2008.  This is a 12.5% increase from the previous quarter and a 7% rise from the start of 2008.  This near equal footing is a far cry from the 70/30 split (in favour of the private sector) seen in Q4 2007, and is the closest the gap has ever been, echoing an ongoing need for highly specialised skillsets across the board, as IMA Chairman, Paul Botting explains.
As recession continues to affect all aspects of industry and commerce, interim managers are in strong demand, he says.  Local government accounted for the largest share nearly a third of public sector assignments last year and continues to grow, mirroring an increase in spending here.  Central government remains a key area of interest as does healthcare, which accounted for 12% of public sector assignments.
In the private sector, banking & finance continued to command the largest number of interim managers, superseding other assignments by 63%.  Both manufacturing and retail employed the second and third highest number of private sector interim executives 10% and 8% respectively on average, with manufacturing reaching a high of 13% in Q3 2008. 
1,658 assignments were completed throughout last year a 3% increase from 2007. Three out of five (62%) assignments focused on change management, programme management and business improvement.  Both change and programme management continue to be the most popular reasons for assignments, a sure sign that in the current economic climate, many businesses are taking proactive steps to weather the storm.
Figures also indicate that the male/female ratio of interim managers is changing.  29% of all the assignments completed in 2008 were by women, a 14% increase across the year, although interim management continues to be male-dominated.
The Interim Management Association (IMA) is an organisation currently made up of 38 interim management providers.  27 businesses who were members in January 2008 took part in this survey.  The organisation looks after the varying needs of its members within this area of recruitment and continues to raise the profile of interim management as a career choice in its own right.  Ipsos MORI studies have formed an integral part of the IMAs analysis and ownership of the market since 2006. 


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