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Contract interim management – the market

The interim management industry is growing fast – one leading organisation suggests that it has doubled in just the last five years. So what do interims do, and how much can you earn as a contract interim manager?

What is an interim manager?

Interims are hired on a short-term basis to find solutions to specific problems, and implementing them – often in project and change management roles.

A typical interim will be successful in their chosen field of expertise, and will be familiar with working in senior management or board-level positions.

Like professional contractors, a successful interim must have the drive and tenacity to go it alone, source new work, and maintain strong relationships with colleagues, clients and service providers alike.

Interims also need to ability to adapt quickly to new environments and are typically expected to deliver results right from the start of the project.

What is the market for contract interims like?

The market for interims has grown strongly in recent years, although short-term activity has been affected by the economic downturn in waves since 2008/9.

According to the Interim Management Association, the amount of revenue generated by the UK’s leading interims has almost doubled since 2006, and is now an industry worth £1.5bn per year.

There are an estimated 15,000 interims working in the UK, of which 11% work on overseas projects.

The average length of assignments has increased from 108 days in 2006 to 166 days in 2011.

The IMA says that most clients hire interims for programme and project management roles (40% of all assignments), followed by change or transition management roles (19%).

How much do interims earn?

According to a survey by interim recruiter Russam GMS, the average pay for interims is £621 per day (as of Feb 2012).

The highest paying industries are banking, insurance, and financial services, where the average rate was £737 per day.

Interims in the IT sector recorded an average daily rate of £578, and those in central and local government commanded rates of £609 and £510 respectively.

Profile of a typical interim manager

Interims tend to be older, experienced professionals than the average IT contractor, for example.

According to the same Russam GMS survey, 78% of interims are in their 50’s and 60’s.

The market is male-dominated, with female interims reportedly earning 13.5% less than men – although the report’s authors note that female interims are more likely to work in industries which command lower rates.

Further Resources

Here are some useful websites if you are interested in finding out more about becoming a contract interim:

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