Demand for interim managers up by 15 percentage points
The survey also highlighted a 18 percentage points increase in the average number of enquiries for interim managers to the second highest number (83) since the survey started in 2006 (2).
It also notes a narrowing gap between public and private sector use of interim managers with a 14 percentage points fall in the private sector (to 56 per cent), and a jump to 44 percentage points in the public sector (from 30 per cent).
The financial services industry continues to dominate the use of interim managers - standing at 45 per cent of all private sector assignments in Q1, 2014 - down by only one percentage point from the previous quarter.
Simon Drake, chairman of the IMA and director at Penna plc, commented: "These are positive trends, and reflect the sentiment of IMA providers. The sector has experienced a real boost to business during the first half of this year, when compared with the end of last year.
"So far, throughout 2014, private sector work has dominated the interim management industry. For sectors like financial services interim managers are key to helping businesses navigate an increasingly complex environment. However, it's interesting to now see this rapid growth in public sector assignments reported during the first quarter of 2014. We have seen peaks and troughs before, but I wonder if this trend is set to continue?"
James Hunt, director - Interim Management at Green Park, an IMA member firm, commented: "For the first time in a few years we are observing that competition is stiff to secure the best candidates and clients are having to move quickly to ensure they do not miss out. There are definitely more positive signs that the markets are picking up and organisations are now looking to grow."
Neil Lupin, senior partner - Public Sector at Green Park, added: "Local government continues to be a strong sector for us. In addition, we have seen more new projects coming out of central government. This is possibly because departments want to make sure projects are completed prior to the General Election next year."
Key statistics from the survey
During Q4 of 2013, the number of new assignments stood at 339, compared to 390 in Q1, 2014.
The net difference between new assignments started (390) and completed (280) was up to 110 this quarter, compared to 44 in Q4, 2013 - representing another significant increase.
The number of assignments in progress also increased during Q1, 2014 - an average of 63 per member, compared to 58 during the previous quarter.
(1) IMA membership audit Q1, 2014 (Jan-March). Ipsos MORI interviewed 17 IMA members during May-mid-June using an online methodology.
(2) Average of 83 enquiries per member.