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HR News Update – Interim managers demand continues going up

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The Interim Management Association’s (IMA) latest Ipsos MORI quarterly survey of interim providers published today finds a further increase in the demand for interim managers.

Demand for IMs is up by four percent from the first quarter of 2014 (1). This follows a 15 percentage point increase, reported in the previous quarter (2). The number of assignments in progress during the second quarter also remained high (3). The latest data shows that between April to July 2014, there was a huge spike in interim programme and project management roles – with two thirds (66 percent) of all executives hired for this purpose – up by 17 percentage points from Q1, 2014. In contrast, requests for interims to fill gap management positions halved to 13 percent (4). Although interim managers still dominate the financial services industry, with 38 percent of all private sector assignments, the transport sector is steadily narrowing the gap in 2014. The second quarter saw an increase in assignments in this area to 15 percent, from 9 percent in Q1, and 3 percent for Q4, 2013.

Simon Drake, IMA chairman and director at Penna Plc, commented: “It is positive to see the continued increase in demand for interim management, and our members anticipate this continuing throughout 2014, as confidence returns in business. Equally, we are seeing an ongoing trend for interims being used for project and programme management assignments. This was particularly key during the recession, as organisations looked to reduce headcount and remain lean. During the current growth phase, they remain cautious when it comes to taking on permanent staff. An interim will act as an independent voice – cutting through internal barriers and challenges, helping to retain a project's momentum. One trend to really note is the huge increase in interims being placed within the transport industry, the majority within the rail sector.” 

Karen Camilleri, director of the transport practice at Veredus (an IMA member company), added: “We – along with a number of other providers – have seen an unprecedented demand for interims in rail. The sector has had a real focus on cleansing and expansion; with myriad new projects underway, including franchising tendering work, HS2 and Crossrail – everything came on board at pretty much the same time. I can only see the demand for experienced interim support increasing over the next few years, as new divisions require development and growth. Transport has become one of our strongest practices, where we now see a big flow of candidates – many cross over between public and private sector work.”

Further key trends from the Q2, 2014 survey: The average length of assignments has increased to 163 days in Q2, 2014 – from 153 days for the first quarter. The number of female interim executives has increased to 35 percent from 32 percent. During the second quarter the private sector accounted for 60 percent of all completed assignments, up from 56 percent in Q1 2014. The public sectors contribution to completed assignments has declined from 44 percent in Q1 2014 to 40 percent in Q2 2014.

(1) IMA membership audit  Q2, 2014 (April-June). Ipsos MORI interviewed 19 IMA members during July and August using an online methodology. (2) IMA membership audit  Q1, 2014 (Jan-March). Ipsos MORI interviewed 17 IMA members during May-mid-June using an online methodology. (3) The number of assignments in progress during the second quarter of 2014 were sitting at 63 (the same as the previous quarter), but up from 58 at the end of 2013. (4) 26 percent in the first quarter.

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