Interim managers gain in popularity

27 April 2005
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28 April 2005 | Liam O'Brien

Interim managers are used increasingly in the UK but only a small minority work in procurement, new research has revealed.

A study by interim recruitment agency Praxis into 100 companies and 1,450 interim managers, found 64 per cent of the companies used an interim manager in 2004.

The average length of assignment rose to eight months in 2004 from six in 2003.

However, only 4 per cent of interims worked in procurement, while 35 per cent worked in project management and 19 per cent in finance.

Patrique Habboo, managing director of Praxis, said: "The surprising finding of this survey is the small number of procurement interim managers, given that it is the only area where the benefits are totally quantifiable."

By sector, the public sector continues to be the dominant user of interims, accounting for 35 per cent of postings.

This is more than twice as many as any other, a dramatic change on 2003, when manufacturing and business services came a close second.

Despite the buoyancy of the interim market - Praxis values it between £250 million and £350 million a year, employing up to 7,000 people - there is a high level of unemployment.

A third of interims were not working on any assignment in 2004 while 64 per cent had worked on at least one project.

Michael Ensor, interim procurement manager, was upbeat about the procurement market.

"There are a lot more project managers and finance managers in general management than procurement managers, so it is not surprising that only 4 per cent of interims work in procurement.

"But as the profile of procurement grows, and the profession is increasingly recognised as important by industry and government, the need for high-calibre interim procurement practitioners will rise."

The cost of employing an interim has risen dramatically over the past two years.

In 2003, half of companies paid £400 or less a day for an interim manager. Last year, 75 per cent of companies expected to pay £400-£1,000 per day.

Interim managers surveyed said the most prevalent reason that companies don't use them was the size of the daily rate.

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