Understanding the qualities of interim managers is increasingly becoming part of life for HR departments, By Stephen Overell
Whether you are intrigued by the 25 per cent-plus growth figures a year or appalled by the £2,000 a day fees some senior mangers can make, the fact is that more and more firms are turning to interim management executives. They may be the ultimate symbols of the disposable labour market but there is no doubting the demand.
The task of finding the right one for a particular assignment is almost certain to involve HR departments at some level. But before moving on to the qualities all agree are essential in the best interims, it is necessary to consider four inter-related controversies that all have a bearing on choosing the right one. They are issues to do with age, redundancy skills sets and job security.
The optimum age for an interim is a subject of fierce debate between those who equate interims with experience and who regard anyone less than 45 as something of an upstart, and those who say interims can be anyone from 30 upwards looking for a varied career. There is little doubt that as a breed, interims are becoming younger - in HR as in other disciplines.
Ian Daniell, chairman of interim management trade body the Association of Temporary and Interim Executive Services, says that as little as five years ago, all the CVs he received were from people in their 50s and 60s - the restructured, the downsized and the early retired. Now, he says, they are a decade younger - 40s or 50s, choosing an alternative to the drudgery of the daily grind.
Many are far younger than that. Most IM supply companies say they have one or two people on their books in their late 20s or early 30s. These people are either choosing interim management as a career or, more likely, they are deliberately using it to acquire new skills, put more blue-chip names on their CVs or broaden their appeal. This most flexible of labour markets means they have the option of dipping in and out of interim management, permanent employment and contract work at different times of their career.
But the preponderance of opinion says that most interim management executives are at the very least in their late 30s. According to a survey by supply company IM&M, 30 per cent are aged 25-34, 43 per cent are aged 35-44 and 24 per cent are 45-54. But there are wide discrepancies of view