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Public sector sees big growth in interim managers

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The Interim Management Association’s (IMA), latest Ipsos MORI quarterly survey (1) of interim providers, published today, indicates a big rise in the use of interim managers in the public sector. 

During the third quarter of 2014, the public sector's contribution to completed assignments increased from 40 per cent (Q2, 2014) to 49 per cent. This represents an almost even split with the private sector, and is the highest recorded – coupled with the second quarter of 2009. When looking at the splits in the public sector, 41 per cent was for local government, 17 per cent for central government and 15 per cent for education. The number of women working in interim management stands at 35 per cent, and has consistently remained over 30 per cent since Q2, 2013.

When it comes to the sectors dominating, the financial services industry continues to be the major user of interim managers – standing at 46 per cent (within the private sector). However, during the third quarter of the year, we have seen a jump in the use of interim managers working in retail – standing at 8 per cent, an increase of 5 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2013. Simon Drake, chairman of the IMA and director at Penna plc, said: “This is the first time we have seen such a high percentage mix of interims in the public sector for the last four years, which we last saw during the previous pre-election years. It will be interesting to see if this trend looks set to continue, particularly with central government increasing from 9 per cent in. Q1 to 17 per cent of the public sector in Q3. “The retail trends recorded also represent the highest proportion seen in a Q3 audit for this industry since 2010.”

Neil Lupin, senior partner at Green Park Interim, commented: “The cuts faced by local authorities from 2015 to 2020 require a fundamental rethink about the way statutory and discretionary services are delivered. Demand for interims to lead these changes is as high as it has ever been and hasn’t peaked. New skills are needed, for example in commercialising services and customer services channel shift and in traditional areas such as children’s services, the demand for turnaround assistant directors and directors far outstrips supply.” Bridgette Cameron, CEO at Alpine, added: “This is an area requiring a more sophisticated approach around structure.  The use of interim expertise brings an injection of high level skill and expertise on an as required basis, avoiding the need for costly long-term resource.”

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