27/09/2012

By Diane Morris, director of Interim Women

Many women opt for interim working because it offers a more flexible and diverse way of working, however it is not without its risks and it’s often a much more uncertain way of working than the world of employment, especially where finances are concerned.

Research we carried out recently with our interim managers found that a quarter of female interims don’t have a private pension and 60% aren’t considering getting one next year. Not necessarily unusual until you realise that most of the women we questioned were over 40 (89% 41-60 years old).

Over half (54%) also told us they haven’t sought any financial planning advice since starting to work as an interim or freelancer, yet many are worrying about their finances and are making cut backs such as curbing their spending or not taking holidays.

Despite being high earners with 62% earning over £80K a year, almost half are worried about their finances and not saving enough for retirement, with a third claiming they worry about their financial future every day. The main financial challenge they face is not knowing where their next assignment or client will come from.

This lack of getting to grips with their finances and not making any provisions for the nature of their work – such as preparing financially for the lean times or the gaps between assignments is becoming a trend as the interim market grows. Many women are living day to day and have no idea where they will be in five years’ time, which makes it imperative they make provisions for the future.

This is even more prudent since our research indicated that just under half hoped to retire by the age of 65. Interestingly though it seems women are not seeing pensions as a way of securing funding for their retirement. A quarter don’t have a pension; a quarter are not aware of how much the state pension is and only half of those questioned are aware of radical new reforms to state pensions that will propose a fairer system for women.

We are living in recessionary times and the need to keep on top of your finances is more important than ever. The recession has impacted the financial fortunes of interims with 55% of those we questioned claiming to have comprised their daily rate during the downturn and half saying they have found it difficult to find work or that there have been longer gaps between assignments.

However it’s not all doom and gloom for interims. Despite the worries and challenges it appears that many women enjoy this way of working with just over 40% saying they expected to still be working as an interim in five years’ time and only 11% are seeing interim management as a way into full time employment and hoping they would be in a full time position within five years.

Interim management continues to be a popular choice for women. Our research found that one in five women said they had been busier than ever during the last few years as more companies want to hire people on an interim or project basis. This is a sign of the times and indicates businesses are increasingly seeing the value and cost-effectiveness of hiring interims.