By Daniel Hunter

The latest Snapshot survey from award-winning interim management provider Russam GMS highlights a 3% growth in activity in the interim management market from December 2011 to December 2012, indicating a growing number of companies are hiring interims to spearhead business projects in spite of a flat economy.

The twice-yearly interim management benchmark from Russam GMS reveals a market that is proving resilient to the lack of growth in the UK economy. Despite activity levels falling by 1.5% compared with June 2012, the overall 3% growth in the past year indicates the market is set on growth — albeit slowly.

There was good news for part-time interims who saw their daily rates increase slightly to £606 by December 2012 from £583 at June 2012 and now represent 31% of the market. The increase in part-time working was identified by the Office for National Statistics last year and Russam’s research indicates the professional interim management market is also seeing growth in demand in this area.

Manufacturing and Engineering continues to be the busiest sector for interims with 11% of all assignments, closely followed by Financial Services (10%) and then both the charity sector and the NHS each accounted for 7% of interims assignments.

The number one interim job discipline was change management and transformation — making up 23% of all assignments, finance specialists were also in demand undertaking 17% of all assignments, with general managers taking on 14% of all assignments. This has dropped from 21% largely due to the increase in interims describing themselves as Change & Transformation Specialists.

There is a continuing move away from businesses using interims as ‘gap fillers’. 55% of interims are now recruited to provide specialist skills absent in their client’s business; 39% to implement new strategies and 36% to work on special projects. Just 14% are hired to cover temporary absences or sudden departures - down slightly from 15% in June 2012.

Businesses are however, being careful how much they pay for interims. There was a slight decline in overall daily rates down from £619 to £593. Those in the food industry however saw a substantial rise from £595 to £712 in June, with banking, finance and insurance the only other sector to have seen a small marginal increase in rates (£701 to £702) in the last six months.

Regionally, rates only rose in the west of England from £496 to £558 in the last six months. However, the international market continued to expand with daily rates increasing from £718 to £759 a day — indicating the overseas market is less influenced by domestic economic factors and that businesses are willing to pay more for quality interims.

Charles Russam, Chairman of Russam GMS comments: “The interim market is showing resilience in a very flat economy. Market conditions continue to be tough. However, we are pleased to see a 3% growth over the past 12 months — indicating small signs of recovery. “

“Increasingly, businesses are using interims more strategically - to lead change management and transformation programmes — particularly in the finance and banking sectors to undertake special projects or implement new strategies. Interims offer skills and experience that tends not to exist within companies and their immediacy and affordability is very appealing.”

“In line with other industry reports, part-time workers are seeing an increase in their rates and now represent a third of the market. We think this trend will continue. Interim managers are working part time both as a lifestyle choice and because interim is an attractive option for many professionals, particularly in a static economy with a limited number of permanent, well-paid part-time roles currently available.”

The research also highlighted that a new professional discipline of Change and Transformation specialists emerged, with 17% of those questioned describing themselves as change managers. This figure has risen to 20% - the highest category of interims on assignment, overtaking general management and reflecting more Interims seeing themselves as Change and Transformation Specialists rather than General Managers.

Age continues to be no issue in the interim market with 52% of those working as interim managers in their 50s and a constant 29% in their 60s — with little change since the last survey. There is a small increase from 47% to 49% of 50 year olds currently on assignment, with those in their 60s on assignment remaining constant at 34%.- however, it is people in their 40s that make up the highest proportion on assignment (55%) and these Interims command the highest daily rates of £619 per day.

Charles Russam, Chairman of Russam GMS comments: “Interim management is one part of the UK economy that values the skills and experience of older executives who kept their skills and knowledge sharp, up to date and relevant. In this context, experience is an instinct about what works best in changing situations and which can contribute hugely to ambitious and entrepreneurial businesses and help them grow and develop.”

“Overall, we sense the mood is positive for the market and we have seen some signs of growth in spite of the fact the economy is static. A slight decline in daily rates is to be expected as organisations continue to tighten their belts, but at the same time many are recognising that they do need to move their business forward and interim managers offer a quick, cost-effective and flexible way of doing this.”

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