Russam Frontline 7: Interim Management trends I’m seeing in the UK market

Many thanks to the nearly 400 Interim Managers in my network who have participated in the bi-monthly Russam “Interim Climate” survey. It has certainly been a rollercoaster 8-month period, with the latest survey showing that 48% are “positive” about the current market for interim assignments.

The alarming trend is that the positives have shifted wholesale over to the negative side since the last survey (and not sitting on the fence as neutral).

At Russam we continue to see a strong business requirement for interim management. Sometimes the nomenclature changes. For example, I’ve been building a transition management team for a global tech business in the Czech Republic. Senior IMs typically call themselves “freelancers” in that region but they certainly fit our definition of an Interim that hasn’t changed in 41 years:

Interim Manager: A senior-level independent business leader or project manager; an expert in their field; a high-level performer with a track record of quantifiable achievement. A possessor of drive and energy; a perceptive individual capable of adapting to new environments and delivering immediate results.

A few trends since the last survey:

  • Finance roles account for 55% of our current live roles. Clients are worried about cash flow and working capital management; they need to be on the front foot, ensuring the board and executive team have the right/accurate information to make informed decisions – so, less about the past and more about what the numbers are really saying for the future (we are working on several FP&A roles).
  • Coaching and mentoring have featured heavily in three new interim roles this week. For example, the need to bring in a heavy-weight Interim CMO to deliver a customer and brand plan and inject some va-va-voom! But also to help fast-track and develop the existing team with growth/promotion over the next 6 to 8 months.
  • Our Interims are spending a greater number of days on client sites; the average from a crude poll is about 3.5 days per week; up from 2.5 a year ago. We are also trying hard to move meetings between clients and candidates to face-to-face when possible.
  • Generally, we are as a team delighted that the candidates in our talent pool want to discuss interesting projects and the starting point is not about day rates, salaries, bonuses, etc. We hope this continues; we spend a lot of time at work and the culture and situation need to fit for all.

Jason Atkinson, Managing Director, Russam

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