Interim state of the market

The interim market is hot at the moment and set to continue, in my opinion. I’m not sure that I’ve seen the demand so high in my nearly 20 years of industry experience, and my peers through the Interim Management Association (IMA) are in agreement. My team and I are having to work very hard to refresh our skilled “inventory” in areas such as finance, supply chain, ESG and HR. We don’t want to run out of talent for our clients!

This is backed up by something I read last month from our industry body that nearly six in ten (58%) who recruit interim and temporary workers were experiencing a shortage of suitable candidates to fill current roles.

I asked one of our fantastic interims last week if it was a good time to be an interim… the response was loud and clear

I think it’s an excellent time to be an interim at the moment. I think the market is very much candidate led and the demand is very, very strong. I’ve seen organisations where they’re struggling to recruit perms and they’ve reached the stage where that is becoming more important and more urgent. With that in mind, they’re now needing to turn to the interim market.

You might be interested in listening to my interim podcasts to hear more about the interim market.

But why does this contrast so much with the latest ONS stats on employment released on 15.2.22? Is the self-employed market truly down by 17% (from c5m to x4.2m) in two years? Contrary to what you hear from Boris, this stat drags our net UK employment figure into the red. 

I personally see this as a short-term correction, partially driven by IR35, companies have encouraged (even pressured) gig workers to go “perm”, and other self-employed professionals have left work entirely. The self-employed have not been treated well by this government through the pandemic. I would envisage a reshaped gig economy and serious growth to +5m in the next year. 

Covid has been one big driver in more of us working on a non-perm/non-5 day a week traditional basis. Our candidates are saying inter alia, “I want to self-drive my career path, I have the desire for more flexibility”, and our clients are saying, “I just need to rent the expertise I need, when I need it and avoid the headcount.” For example, we are working with a very cool fintech start-up where all c25 of their brilliant and highly committed people are self-employed. 

The short-sighted and capricious IR35 legislation has been a bump in the road. In my opinion, it will not slow the unstoppable momentum of the gig economy in the UK as the economy rebounds nicely and we come out of the pandemic. 

Russam’s interim roles are up 55% year-on-year. I must admit that our interim industry hasn’t been able to fix accurately on the size of the UK market. At Russam, we think there are 20,000 dedicated practitioners with many more on the fringes; and the industry is worth c£1.5bn to the economy. I would expect our industry to grow by 15 to 20% in 2022. 

My team and I look forward to hearing from you and will always find you the right person for the job!

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