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2012 has had its ups and downs. The landscape of the interim market is quite different now and those involved in it have had to adjust to the new norm. There are many new entrants to the market (understandable in this climate), there is pressure on rates (a result of the new entrants), competition for assignments is high and direct sourcing is increasingly posing a threat to ISP’s (perceived cost savings). Coupled with this, is a new breed who sit in the ‘temporary’ or ‘fixed term contracts’ space fulfilling what seems to be an increasing demand for those who flit between ‘interim jobs’ and permanent roles often using the former as a route to the latter.
The interim market is certainly more specialised now with clients being more prescriptive in their requirements. Clients are taking their time making the right decision and sometimes using ISP’s for external benchmarking against an internal option or to help develop their thoughts on the need to make a permanent appointment.
This is quite an interesting shift but not a surprising one given the economic uncertainty and many companies still in a zombie state. Cost is an important factor in the decision making process, fuelled by a high propensity to compare the associated costs of engaging an interim with a permanent salary rather than view it as an investment and make a decision based on the deliverables and ROI.
These behaviours are driven by the requirement in the first place. Is the need a genuine requirement for a senior level executive to help a business for a short period of time to drive change and therefore facilitate the transformation of the business / division? Or is the need for someone longer term but with the absence of a budget and therefore need a temporary solution where a FTC would suffice?
Another measure of assessing changes to the market is whether a career interim would take a permanent role. There are increasing cases of Executives who are transitioning citing reasons such as market conditions but this is of course determined by their area of specialism and markets in which they operate. This is a marked step change from a few years ago when this scenario would be quite rare in occurrence, although there will always be exceptional circumstances surrounding the decision in the first place.
Interestingly, in terms of market opportunity this grey area is also creating new interim opportunities. There have been several occasions when an organisation would like someone permanently but don’t have the budget so will engage an interim to help solve a particular issue.
We have seen steady demand throughout 2012 with quite a wide spread of requirements. Special Projects, Finance, Operations, Engineering and HR all underpinned by business change have featured highly. We shall continue to build on this and support our clients with established executive interims who are highly experienced, objective, results orientated focused on delivery and adds value to the organisation for which they are engaged.
The start to 2013 has already seen increasing demand but more importantly, let’s hope this is a year where more assignments actually come to fruition.
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