Monday, 15 February 2016

Is the Interim market really any different?

Is the Interim market really any different?

We live in a different world now.  The economy continues to have its ups and downs, terror threats are higher than ever, global warming is at hard at work and technological advances have changed the way we work.  Some things do remain the same though and that’s businesses with BAU challenges of sales and profitability targets, implementation of strategic plans, shareholder return,  employee engagement, culture and diversity all firmly on the agenda.  This provides enough of a challenge even without ‘special projects’ to achieve improvements and this transcends into ensuring the best talent is in place both on a permanent and interim basis to help lead the business to achieve those objectives.

Many people operating within the interim world have the view that the interim market is quite different now compared to when it was first established or of just a few years ago.  Threats to the market include increased competition for assignments,  pressure on rates, ‘interim to perm’ fueled by more people using the badge until a permanent job is sourced, a longer process with the involvement of more stakeholders, a drawn out decision making process, a new breed of niche or specialist interim and external threats that are beyond anyone's control.  These are all challenges facing us but is this any different today compared to say ten years ago?

One thing that does remain constant is change.  Whatever cycle a business is in; growth, downsizing, improving, transforming, restructuring or turnaround there is a continual requirement for good people that will deliver and make a difference to enable the organisation to move forward.  The interim market has seen some twists and turns but what hasn’t?  Opportunities are created when businesses face these challenges and that’s when we can help by providing good, experienced and appropriate Interims to deliver and make a difference.

Although there is still a lack of understanding about the interim proposition which is not helped by an increased pool of people that are just visiting, there is certainly an increased understanding of the value in engaging an interim by many organisations.  The evolving market has seen a shift in requirements for specific sector experience - rightly or wrongly this is perceived as being a less risky option and is of no surprise given a general shift in attitude to risk.  This is of course quite different to bringing in a generalist whose very USP was that they had multiple sectors under their belt and were likely to have worked in several area of a business.   My view is there is real advantage to ‘a fresh set of eyes’ but the consequence of this has meant that for some, securing an assignment is harder resulting in elongated void periods.

I am constantly asked how the market is.   A difficult question when there are so many varying factors that affect the answer.   There will always be threats but the equilibrium comes from an increase in opportunities.  Economic factors will always affect confidence but this threat is now more widespread than ever with global economic recovery looking shaky at best. Slowdowns from Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) will produce ripple effects and closer to home the cost impact on the living wage on the services sector, government spending cuts, likely increase in interest rates and the global economic uncertainty are all knocking confidence.  As long as there are no radical legislative issues affecting how interims conduct their business, we can deal with the former.

I don’t believe the interim market is that different.  Businesses have the vision to drive change in many shapes and forms with an increased appetite for acquisitions, business growth (UK and International), restructuring, programme / project management, special ‘one off’ projects  and turnarounds that require external help.  As such these situations lend themselves to the engagement of an interim executive to supplement lack of internal capacity and / or capability.

We provide high impact interim executives and look forward to exciting new projects to help more clients move forward.  I expect 2016 to be a busy year building on the upturn of the last couple of years and despite this reflective update the market remains good albeit with a slightly different theme materialising.

For a confidential discussion please contact Steven Wynne on 01423 704153 or e-mail