What is an interim manager?
A senior-level professional working on an independent basis for a limited period of time, with operational control over a project, team and/or budget. They range from project manager level to chief executive.
- How long have they been around?
20 to 30 years
- What sector uses them the most?
- Where are interim managers not used?
In a strictly professional capacity - such as doctor or lawyer
- How much do they charge?
Day rates start at £500 and as much as £2,000. Average rate is £537
- When should they be used?
To advise on and implement a specific project
- Are there any alternatives to using an interim?
There is a war of words going on between interim managers and management consultants. Many consultants see themselves as having greater strategic muscle and that the interim's role is more one of implementation. Interim managers disagree, saying they have just as much strategic clout as a consultant.
"Interim managers say there isn't much difference between themselves and consultants," says Charles Russam, director at interim management provider, Russam GMS. "Consultants wouldn't agree. They think interim managers are more routine in what they do. However, interim managers are basically doers and can perform a lot of the work that consultants do and they can cost just half or a third of the price."
Price isn't the only advantage of using an interim manager over a consultant, according to Emma Brierley, chief executive of resourcing company, Xchangeteam, and author of Talent on Tap: getting the best from freelancers, interims and consultants.
"Consultants usually advise and don't have operational control," she says, "whereas an interim manager will go into a company, give advice and then implement it."
What this debate shows is that there is a lot of confusion about what interim managers do. This is partly because the role and profile has changed a lot in the past 10 years.
It all began in The Netherlands in the late 1970s when Dutch employment legislation was so tough that organisations began hiring senior people on a temporary basis. UK employers followed suit in the 1980s, making greater use of temporary staff to carry out specific project work when they were experiencing employment issues of their own - namely two major recess