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Demand for contract interim managers still growing, but ‘flat 2013’ predicted

The latest figures from the IMA show that public sector interim management projects now account for over two thirds of all assignments – the highest level since before the credit crunch.

The Interim Management Association’s latest survey of the interim recruitment market highlighted that 67% of all contracts were for private sector firms, as public sector consultancy spending continues to be subdued due to ongoing ‘efficiency savings’. The last time private sector assignments dominated the market to this degree was in 2007.

Slowing demand for interim managers

The survey revealed both positive and negative trends for the industry. The number of live interim assignments per IMA recruitment member rose to 62 during the third quarter of 2012, compared to 54 in the first quarter of last year. However, the number of new interim openings commencing in Quarter 3 2012 fell to 324 from 374 in Quarter 2.

Despite the increased market share for live private sector assignments, the number of fresh enquiries received by each IMA recruiter for public sector interims actually rose during the quarter, and enquiries for interims for private sector firms actually fell.

Continuing the ongoing trend, banking and finance roes continue to account for the lion’s share of all private sector assignments – accounting for almost half of all projects.

Seasonal impact on Q3 figures

Commenting on the mixed results of the survey, the IMA’s chairman, Jason Atkinson, said that the interim management market was tough. Using the Chinese economy as an analogy, Atkinson said that the interim sector was still growing, but the level of growth had eased. Seasonal influences also played a part in the lower growth figures:

“This was the time of the Olympics, when people took holidays and were forced to work shorter days. I would expect these figures to increase for Q4, 2012.”

Predictions for 2013

Atkinson said that he expected flat growth for much of 2013, but the interim management sector will still thrive in the banking and finance sector due to the ongoing demand for M&A specialists, and will “make big strides into the SME space, supporting young businesses in their growth plans”.

Neil Arnett, Investment Manager at Horizon RCS said “The demand for interims will still be strong in 2013, despite predictions of flat growth. Our partners at Horizon RCS have a wealth of interim positions that they are looking to fill so now is still a good time for interims who are seeking work.”

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