Huge Increase in Demand for Interim Managers
According to the Interim Management Association’s (IMA) Ipsos MORI industry benchmark survey for Q1 2011, the number of businesses hiring interim managers has increased this year. Specifically, there has been a growth in demand for Interims to undertake specialist projects, financial assignments and help with critical business expansion projects. The report highlights a 29% increase in the number of Interims undertaking special projects and a 20% rise in financial assignments whilst Programme/Project Management assignments have risen by almost a third (32%). The total number of new assignments started in this quarter increased by 13% compared to the previous quarter, and is the highest level recorded since Q2 of 2010.
The research also showed that the private sector overtook the Public Sector in terms of Interim Management usage during 2010, whereas in previous years the use of interim managers in both sectors has been roughly equal. Whilst overall the public sector figures have dropped, there was a surprise rise in the number of interim assignments in Local Government, with figures jumping from 26% this time last year, to 44% this year. Jason Atkinson, Chair of the IMA, one of the REC's specialist sector groups, explained more about the findings:
“Interims with vital niche skills in project management and financial expertise who are able to lead companies through tough challenges and deliver new growth are evidently most attractive to businesses right now. For many companies, interim managers are ‘just what the doctor ordered’ in terms of helping UK businesses grow both domestically and internationally in difficult times.
Local government is still a growth area for interim managers. Currently, local councils are under huge pressure to deliver unprecedented levels of change and efficiency savings. Interims are being used to lead change management and transformation projects, implement shared services programmes and they are working at the highest levels in local councils to help them achieve their efficiency goals. Overall the figures from Q1 are relatively positive, however, the global market picture is much wider, and we are seeing a very interesting trend in the surge in demand specifically for British interims in the global market.”
With statistics like these, it’s not hard to see why becoming an interim manager could be an appealing career shift. Interim management is still a relatively new industry and, as a business concept, is a fantastic way of injecting much-needed flexibility into the marketplace. The UK operates perhaps the most sophisticated interim Management services in the world, with executives and managers covering a wide variety of roles at different levels of expertise and within various technical areas. The best interim managers are already proving that, if used effectively, they can be worth their weight in gold. According to the Institute of Directors, an interim executive with relevant experience and a good track record can be ‘the answer to a company’s prayers’.
Why companies use interim managers
When a company employs an interim manager, that person is contracted to deliver a fixed assignment for a fixed cost and fixed duration. Through this, the company gains the benefit of instant experience, a higher calibre of manager as well as having an ‘implementer’ on hand who will be focused solely on the job at hand. Some specific situations in which a company might need to engage an interim manager include:
- To conduct a change management process, or business restructuring which needs specialist resource and expertise
- To launch a new project when in-house skills are not sufficient
- To turn an ailing business around
- To set up new businesses or to close down old ones
- To handle a business situation which needs evaluation, recommendation and implementation – when there is no time to do this using internal staff
- To fill a sudden gap in the workforce caused by absence, resignation, dismissal or secondment
- To accommodate a sudden increase in workload
- To manage acquisitions
- To provide mentoring and team development
- To carry out crisis management activity
Administrative and practical issues
Ask any accountant and they will tell you the most tax efficient way to work as an interim manager, contractor or freelancer is to work through your own limited company. According to a 2010 survey by the Institute of Interim Management, 89% of professional interims utilise a limited company model for their businesses. Forming a limited company isn't difficult and only takes a few minutes. You'll need to have professional indemnity insurance and on a more personal level you will also need to:
- Be organised and efficient in all aspects of your company administration
- Provide a cost-effective alternative to a permanent, highly-paid executive
- Offer flexibility on location and be able to commit to a weekly commute if necessary for the duration of the assignment
- Be financially secure and able to cope with non-billing periods
- Be available at short notice
It’s well worth talking to the Institute of Interim Management (IIM), the professional body for interim managers. It is a not-for-profit institute run by interim managers and executives. The IIM publishes an annual survey of interim management recruiters (known by interim managers as ‘service providers’). You may also find our guide to becoming an interim manager helpful.
Accountancy services for interim managers
If you are already an interim manager operating through your own limited company, or if you are thinking of setting up as an interim manager or even working through an umbrella company and want to go limited, we can help. Get in touch with us for more information.