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UK businesses turn to interim managers to drive business growth

Russam GMS reports a 6.5% rise in demand for interim managers in the 12 months from June 2013 – June 2014 in its latest snap shot survey of UK interims.  Its research also reveals a rise in project management assignments particularly those focused on business change and transformation, as well as sustained high levels of activity in manufacturing and the financial services sector.

Russams findings mirror new figures from the Interim Management Association’s (IMA) latest Ipsos MORI quarterly survey of interim providers which reported 4% increase in demand for interim managers between Q1 and Q2 of 2014, following a 15% increase in the last quarter of 2013. Equally, the IMA who found that two thirds (66%) of executives were hired for interim programme and project management roles in Q2, up 17% from Q1 2014.

Russam reports that over half of all interims (54%) were hired for the specialist skills 45% to design and implement new strategies, 39% for projects, and 32% to restructure businesses. Just 3% were used for traditional interim roles such as covering maternity leave.

There was growth in the number of assignments led by part-time interim managers, who now represent 31% of the market. This increase in part time working was identified by statistics from the Office for National Statistics and it is another area where Russam is seeing increased demand.

The Manufacturing and engineering sectors, where they are often skills shortages reported, used interims the most - comprising 11% of assignments, closely followed by financial services at 9% and then the charity sector at 8%. Healthcare represents 5% of all assignments, followed by Central Government and construction and property, both 5% of all assignments, and local government, education and transport all at 4%.

Jason Atkinson, managing director of Russam GMS comments: “The UK interim market is finally experiencing growth after some difficult years. Interims are clearly be used to help companies maximise opportunities arising from these improved market conditions. Increasingly, they are delivering strategic change and transformation projects and implement new business strategies, including setting up new business operations in the UK and overseas.” 

“Like the IMA we have seen a jump in demand for interims in the transport sector – particularly in rail where experts are being called in to help with new projects such as HS2 and Crossrail as well as tendering and procurement work. Part time interims continue to be in demand.”

However, the market remains competitive. Businesses are cautious over how much they are paying interims with only a slight increase in overall daily rates from &pound628 in 2013 to &pound638 in 2014.

One exception was for interims working in the financial services sector where pay rates soared from &pound644 per day to &pound865 over the year, making this the highest paid sector, followed by leisure, entertainment and hospitality at &pound819 per day, up from &pound750. Sales and marketing experts also enjoyed pay increases from &pound619 last year to &pound713.

Pay rates for part-time interims increased slightly from &pound621 in 2013 to &pound651 per day in 2014, and those interims working overseas have experienced a small increase and now command a daily rate of &pound746 (up from &pound743).

Age isn’t a barrier in the interim market, with 54% of those working as interim managers in their 50s and a constant 22% for those in their 60s and 40s. However, there was a big drop in the number of interims in their 20s and 30s with just 2% on assignment, compared with 33% in June 2013.

Jason Atkinson comments: “It’s a bit early to say whether the decline of interims in their 20s and 30s is a market trend, however, it could be that younger interims were sheltering in interim management during the recession but with full time permanent jobs increasing they are choosing to go back on the payroll.”

“UK businesses are firmly focused on growth which is increasing the demand for highly qualified interims with specialist skills to support them. Their immediacy, flexibility and affordability is very appealing,” adds Mr. Atkinson.


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