The interim market has come a long way over the past five years, and is now expanding across all sectors. Adele Kimber brings us up-to-date on its present status
Five years ago, a top-level cadre of a few thousand senior managers defined the interim management market. They were almost all male, aged 50 plus, and had worked at board or head of function level in a blue-chip organisation. Board-level projects or spells covering for senior managers earned them fees of £800 or more a day.
Today, the interim market has changed immeasurably, and despite a recent economic slowdown, interim managers are finding opportunities across all sectors and at an expanding number of management levels.
The battle to establish the concept of interim management has been won, with a clear recognition both from private firms and public sector organisations that interims are an important part of the resourcing mix.
The expansion of the market has been fuelled by several factors: the success of the original interim agencies in establishing the concept in the minds of top managers; the business opportunities in the sector spotted by traditional recruitment firms; and a new breed of middle to senior managers, tempted by the interim lifestyle.
The expansion of the market is undoubtedly good for HR professionals. Recent research from Mori for agency BIE Interim Executive, shows HR directors are increasing their share of top-level interim assignments. In research carried out with chief executives of the FTSE 500 companies, interim HR directors had been recruited by 13 per cent of respondents, up from 4 per cent in 2001.
Martin Wood, managing director of BIE, says the rising number of senior HR interims being appointed reflects the changes many firms are undergoing in the current uncertain economic climate.
"Organisations are seizing the opportunity to parachute top-level resources into positive and negative situations to move things forward as quickly as possible," he says.
But despite the positive long-term outlook for HR interims, the economic slowdown has hit the current market hard. While increasing numbers of managers vie to find an interim assignment, the demand for interim managers is relatively low, and struggling to recover towards the heady levels of demand in mid-September 2001.
The latest figures from Russam GMS show that 48 per cent of inte