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Demand for senior interim executives on the rise

Nearly a third (29.4%) of interims said that they were appointed in place of management consultants in the past year, up nearly ten per cent from figures two years ago.  While cost savings (41%) and speed of delivery (39.8%) were significant factors, most clients chose interims over management consultants because they were more experienced (64.3%) or had better subject matter expertise (52.8%).

The survey also highlighted that interim appointments in foreign markets are focused on driving growth, which contrasts sharply with the UK, where 41% of interim assignments involve transformation or turnaround.  Overseas assignments tended to focus on expanding capability to grow into new markets with most projects designed to drive a major new project/programme (31.2%), address internal change (29.3%), and business development (29.3%). 

While Europe (61.9%) is still the most common overseas post, there was a growing proportion (14.3%) of interims roles elsewhere in the last year: North America (25.8%), Middle East (18.1%) and Latin America (6%).

Mike Hollin, co-Managing Partner at Alium, said: “In the last few years, we have seen a steady rise in companies turning to senior interims to deliver strategic change management projects that were previously often done by management consultants.

“More broadly, the tough economic climate has been a catalyst to the increased use of senior interims.  This is because they are typically overqualified for their roles, having been in similar situations many times before, so aren’t being promoted into a new position.  Secondly, they represent a variable cost as they are not permanent hires, and they can be in place within a matter of days, delivering against very specific objectives.”    

Alium’s survey also highlighted that many interim assignments are extended for additional projects.   Nearly three-quarters (72.6%) of interim assignments are extended, with over a quarter (27.6%) extended by more than six months.

Nigel Peters, co-Managing Partner, added: “Sourcing the necessary experience and skills locally is an ongoing struggle for companies expanding their businesses overseas, and we have noticed a significant shift in overseas interim placements to developing regions beyond Europe. These roles vary from manufacturing and industrial leaders in Latin America, to aviation and infrastructure experts in the Middle East, for example, and are a tangible sign of growth in the global economy.”

Nearly 50% of respondents said that they felt more or much more confident in the economy – in the 2012 survey this figure was just 10%.

1145 interim executives took part in Alium’s online survey.  


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