Interim-Management Report Europe


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This report draws together findings from comprehensive market research carried out in 2009, 2011 and 2013/14 - to create a complete and up-to-the-minute picture of the European interim sector.

Executives Online in The Interim Report explores trends in interim management including reasons for an interim manager being required, day rates and utilisation of interim managers themselves, demographics of interim managers (age, gender, length of experience, geographic location, primary area of functional expertise) and the diverse benefits clients derive from leveraging interims.

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Interim-Management Report Europe

  2. 2. Contents Page Introduction 1 Research Objectives and Methodology 2 Defining Interim Management 2 Current Trends 3 Interim Manager Profile 6 Interim Management Billing Rates 9 Sourcing Interim Management Assignments 11 Type of Agency 12 Drivers of Interim Management Engagement 13 Most Important Qualities in an Interim Manager 16 Client Data 17 Interim Managers Look Ahead 18 Conclusion 19
  3. 3. Introduction Executives Online has operated as a European interim management provider since 2000, beginning in the UK and since 2005 through a growing network of European operations. Years ago, little accurate data existed about the shape and features of the interim management sector, nor interim managers themselves. And so, we gathered our own, publishing the Sambrook Report on UK Interim Management in 2000. We followed that with bi-annual surveys and reports describing the demographics, pricing, motivations and methods of interim management engagement, and reporting trends in these and other key figures. The 2014 European Interim Report is the latest edition of this key publication. In the course of our research, we heard from more than 1,600 interim managers, to whom we are grateful for sharing their thoughts and perspectives via a detailed online survey. In the intervening years, the landscape and context for interim management have changed remarkably. The earliest interim management providers and their placements revolved around the “little black book” of contacts built on the connections of one (usually) grey-haired founder. The new millennium, by contrast, has seen the rise of social media as an important channel connecting talent and employers, and the commoditisation of traditional media like newspaper appointments adverts and even job boards. Clients’ procurement departments and large volume recruiters have tried to influence the choice and use of interim managers and interim providers. The global financial and economic crisis has rattled and challenged companies, causing them to defer investments and trim costs. Skills gaps emerge as a barrier to organisations capitalising on these trends. We are pleased to share this report with you and hope that it will address questions you might have, regardless of your perspective: as an interim manager yourself, or as a business leader in a company considering engaging an interim manager. Contact us to discuss how an interim manager can bring skills, capacity, perspective – and most importantly, results – to your organisation. 1
  4. 4. Research Objectives and Methodology Objectives Defining Interim Management Our research aimed to answer a variety of questions about interim management: For the purposes of this report we define interim management as being: the provision of a mature, professional manager, well qualified by relevant skills, practical experience and attitude, either to deliver a specific business result within a limited time period, or to fill a gap in permanent staffing. • What is the typical profile of an interim manager in terms of gender, age, background, experience, and how they source assignments? • Did the global recession have any effects on interim management, and if so, what? • What qualities are most important in an interim manager? • What needs drive companies to seek interim management solutions? • What types of companies engage interim managers? • How often do interim managers work as part of a team, and what type of work necessitates a team of interim managers? • How important are interim management providers and other recruitment agencies in connecting clients and interim practitioners? • What variations are evident among these measures from one European country to another? Survey Methodology and Timings Our survey was conducted beginning in November 2013 and continuing through January 2014 via an online questionnaire completed by 1,687 Europe-based interim managers. Interim managers from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Turkey participated in the survey. In some European countries – Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and The Netherlands – sufficient response was received by country to allow reporting of many figures at the country level. We include data from our UK survey for comparison in these breakout figures. In this report, percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding. 2
  5. 5. Current Trends Employment Status At the time of this survey, nearly a third of European interim managers were working in full-time assignments. Another 12% were working full-time via a combination of part-time assignments. Another fifth was engaged part-time. Almost 40% were not on assignment. These figures are virtually unchanged from 2011, remaining considerably stronger than in 2009 when overall utilisation was lower with 48% of interim managers – almost half – not on assignment. Part-time assignments continue to play a role in interim executives’ portfolios of work, with almost one-third of the interim managers surveyed engaged in one or more part-time engagements. Current Status Current Status Current Status 2009 2011 2014 6% 12% 13% 19% 48% 19% 20% 39% 27% 29% 29% Not on assignment – 39% Full-time assignment – 29% Part-time assignment – 19% Full-time, on combination of part-time assignments – 13% Not on assignment – 48% Full-time assignment – 27% Part-time assignment – 19% Full-time, on combination of part-time assignments – 6% By country, overall utilisation is similar with circa 60% of interim managers surveyed engaged in work. Interim managers in France are less utilised than their European colleagues; interim managers in Belgium and The Netherlands are slightly better utilised. Compared to 2011, virtually every country has seen an 39% Not on assignment – 39% Full-time assignment – 29% Part-time assignment – 20% Full-time, on combination of part-time assignments – 12% improvement in the percentage of its interim managers who are engaged in full-time assignments. The exception is Italy, in which full-time interim roles have lost ground to part-time and portfolio assignments, and downtime. Interim Manager Current Work Status by Country Belgium France Germany Ireland Italy The Netherlands United Kingdom Working in full-time assignment 44% 24% 34% 31% 22% 28% 37% Working in part-time assignment 13% 19% 22% 25% 21% 26% 15% Working full-time, but as combination of multiple part-time assignments (portfolio) 11% 9% 7% 10% 15% 16% 9% Not on assignment 31% 48% 37% 34% 42% 30% 39% 3
  6. 6. We asked our interim managers to describe how busy they feel now compared to a year ago. Their answers echo the findings about utilisation: a stronger arc of recovery was observed between 2009 and 2011, whereas at the end of 2013 the improvement is maintained rather than continuing to accelerate. In terms of demand for your services, are you finding yourself: In terms of demand for your services, are you finding yourself: In terms of demand for your services, are you finding yourself: 2009 2011 2014 21% 23% 29% 37% 42% 49% 30% 34% 35% Less busy than a year ago – 49% Less busy than a year ago – 42% About as busy as a year ago – 30% About as busy as a year ago – 34% About as busy as a year ago – 35% More busy than a year ago – 21% 4 Less busy than a year ago – 37% More busy than a year ago – 29% More busy than a year ago – 23%
  7. 7. Length of Assignment Interim management assignments can run the gamut from short-term projects of a few months to longer-term initiatives spanning years. What we see in our most recent research is that length of assignment is remarkably stable versus 2011. The average assignment has lengthened only slightly, to 9.5 months at the end of 2013 versus 9.3 in 2011. The distribution of assignments is also very similar. Length of Last Assignment 30 Percentage 25 20 37% 15 19% 19% 19% 16% 14% 10 13% 5 0 0–3 months 3–6 months 9 – 12 months 6–9 months In individual European countries the distribution of assignment lengths is slightly different. Compared to the European average, Belgian and Italian interim managers secure assignments which are longer by a full month. In the UK and Ireland, assignments are shorter than the European average by almost two months. These country averages are composed of a range of assignments that, in different countries, show different patterns. In the UK, Netherlands and Italy, the distribution is quite even, whereas Germany and Belgium have fewer very short assignments. 12 – 18 months 18 months+ Very short-term assignments are prevalent in Ireland, with 29% of all assignments running less than 3 months. Anecdotal reports from Executives Online recruiters are that assignments for business transformational reasons tend to be longer than assignments for gap-filling reasons. The survey data bear this out: Assignments where the main reason was change management, crisis management, project team strengthening or similar reasons were on average longer than interim assignments to fill a sudden gap due to illness, maternity or other reasons by more than 18%. Length of Last Assignment by Country Belgium France Germany 0 – 3 months 10% 23% 3 – 6 months 13% 6 – 9 months The Netherlands United Kingdom Ireland Italy 8% 29% 15% 18% 19% 21% 27% 25% 16% 21% 24% 16% 15% 18% 15% 11% 18% 21% 9 – 12 months 20% 16% 21% 12% 21% 16% 15% 12 – 18 months 20% 9% 11% 11% 14% 14% 18+ months 22% 16% 15% 8% 23% 13% Average (in months) 10.9 8.3 9.2 7.1 10.1 8.7 22% 7.6 5
  8. 8. Interim Manager Profile Gender Gender of Interim Managers – Western European Average The interim management field draws a disproportionate number of men, with 90% of our Western European survey respondents being male. Belgium, The Netherlands and Italy show participation of women in interim management at levels very near the European average. Elsewhere, the proportion of women among interim managers varies: in France it is 16%; in Germany, 7%; in Ireland, 13%. Female 10% Male 90% Age Interim managers tend to be seasoned executives, with more than 60% respondents aged 50 or more, and an average age of 52. Of the survey respondents, 46% of respondents fell into the 40-49 range, and just 7% were under the age of 40. These figures show an ageing of the interim management talent pool towards older and more deeply experienced interim managers, a trend that continues from 2009. The figures on utilisation show that the recovery observed in 2011 has held: companies are Age Age 20–29 1% 70+ 0.4% 60-69 5% Age 20–29 1% 30–39 13% 40–49 41% 2009 6 using interims in similar levels to two years ago. The profile of the average interim manager, however, is affected by new joiners, and the decision to become an interim manager – a risky but rewarding career move – appears to be lagging the recovery. Continued perceptions about the uncertain economic climate may be deterring younger managers and executives from leaving the security of employment to commence a career in interim management. 30–39 10% 50–59 40% 40–49 39% 2011 70+ 0.2% 20–29 0.5% 70+ 0.5% 60-69 5% 30– 39 6% 60–69 10% 50–59 39% 40–49 31% 2014 50–59 46%
  9. 9. Years of Experience The typical interim manager’s career path involves a successful career in industry – showing progression, accomplishment and measurable results – and at some point, the decision to turn independent as an interim manager. Successful trading as an interim manager draws on the skills, experience and perspective gained in corporate life but also adds new challenges: for example, the ability to come up to speed very quickly in a new situation, an increased focus on early tangible results, the ability to influence others in the organisation but often without a traditional reporting or team structure. Perhaps most importantly, an interim manager must be able to sell him/herself into new assignments over and over again, identifying opportunities and persuading the client to engage them in a months-long assignment at an appropriate daily rate. There is debate within the industry about the importance of tenure as an interim vs. relevant skills for the role at hand in predicting success in an assignment. Years Experience 2009 2 4% 4% % Years Experience 10% 37% 23% 31 27 69 166 142 261 12 20% Years Experience 2011 7% 4% Years Experience 5% 13% 31% 21% The average respondent in our survey of interim managers had 6.4 years of experience as an interim manager, in addition to their prior corporate career. Tenure has lengthened since 2009 when the average European interim manager had been practicing for 5.6 years. Continuing a trend from 2009, we see that fewer interim managers are new to the career. In this research, 32% of respondents had less than 2 years’ experience, compared to 38% in 2011 and 39% in 2009. We believe the lower share of less experienced interim managers is due to the recent and ongoing economic uncertainty, which may make it less attractive to risk starting an independent career, and in which the more experienced interim managers are the ones remaining successful at finding and executing engagements. 20+ 15–19 10-14 5-9 3-4 1-2 Less than 1 No. of Respondents 20+ 15–19 10-14 5-9 3-4 1-2 Less than 1 No. of Respondents 38 49 124 195 166 288 66 18% Years Experience 2014 5% 6% Years Experience 5% 27% 15% 24% 20+ 15–19 10-14 5-9 3-4 1-2 Less than 1 No. of Respondents 84 81 220 369 285 402 70 19% 7
  10. 10. Interest in Permanent Employment Permanent Job? Just 20% of interim managers say they are utterly committed to the field of interim management and will choose to continue in that realm. The remaining 80% could be interested in permanent employment if the right opportunity presented itself. Commitment to interim management has risen slightly since 2009 when 84% of those surveyed were open to permanent employment, for the right opportunity. 20% Interim managers are motivated in their career choice by many different factors, and these no doubt affect their viewpoint on an employed role. Some see interim management as a way to gain experience and visibility which can lead to a permanent role; others deliver interim assignments out of financial necessity while searching for a permanent role. Many of these practitioners do rejoin corporate life, but this path can produce a committed interim too. Many interim managers who begin in interim management like this discover to their delight that they enjoy and excel in it more than corporate life. At the other end of the spectrum are interim managers who already have amassed significant experience in delivering complex business transformation projects. Their having acquired the functional competence, project management skills, and “soft skills” required to be successful means they are likelier to remain an interim than their colleagues just starting out. 80% Yes, I could be interested if it was the right opportunity – 80% No, I am 100% committed to interim management – 20% Attitude Towards Permanent Employment by Country Belgium France Germany Ireland Italy The Netherlands United Kingdom Yes, I could be interested if it was the right opportunity 68% 82% 79% 84% 83% 83% 62% No, I am 100% committed to interim management 32% 18% 21% 16% 17% 17% 38% Commitment to interim management is generally higher in countries with a longer history of interim management as a way of engaging in executive work, such as Belgium and the United 8 Kingdom. Commitment to interim management is also stronger in countries with the strongest domestic economies, such as Germany, Belgium and the UK.
  11. 11. Interim Management Billing Rates Changes in Billing Rate Distribution of Day Rates Daily rates continue to be quite stable across Europe. In 2014 and in 2011, more than 60% of respondents indicated they were billing about the same in the current year as the year before. Some were able to raise their rates: 12% in 2014 and 14% in 2011. About one quarter are billing less, but this compares favourably to 2009 when more than 40% of respondent had had to lower their rates in order to secure assignments during the worst of the recession. The average European interim manager in our study earns €749 per day, which is virtually unchanged from 2011’s €756. % Under €400 15% €400-€499 9% €600-699 11% 10% €800-899 11% €900-999 2009 12% €700-799 Change in Daily Rate? €500-599 8% €1,000-1,099 €1,100-1,199 4% €1.200-1,299 4% €1,300+ 15% 10% 6% 42% 43% More – 15% About the same – 43% Less – 42% Change in Daily Rate? Change in Daily Rate? 2011 2014 14% 24% 12% 26% 62% 61% More – 14% About the same – 62% Less – 24% More – 12% About the same – 61% Less – 26% 9
  12. 12. Billing Rate Differential by Country and Functional Area Country Average Billing Rate Belgium Day rates vary by country, with the more mature markets for interim management (Belgium, The Netherlands, the UK) showing stronger daily rates, as well as Germany whose economic strength has endured the recession better than elsewhere. An exception to this is France, a relatively newer market for interim management, and which nevertheless shows a very strong daily rate, but this may be inflated by the very high social insurance rates which must be applied to French interim management contracts. Some variation in daily rate is evident by role or functional area, with European interim Managing Directors earning the highest daily rates, followed by Commercial Directors and General Managers. (Many more roles and functions are represented in our study, however insufficient responses were received in each to provide a significant enough data set.) €806 France €859 Germany €927 Ireland €710 Italy €600 The Netherlands €891 United Kingdom €760 * * The average UK interim manager earns £637 per day, converted to Euros at November 2013 exchange rates equals €760 Functional Area Average Billing Rate €870 Finance €696 Human Resources (HR) €736 Information Technology (IT, including IT Project Management) €762 Marketing €761 Operations (Manufacturing but also Services) €674 Project Management (non-IT) €713 Sales / Business Development €644 Supply Chain / Retail Management 10 Top Board/Executive Management (i.e. CEO, Managing Director, Managing Partner, General Manager €693
  13. 13. Sourcing Interim Management Assignments Over seventy percent of the interim managers surveyed had sourced their most recent project on their own, with just over a quarter having made use of interim or recruitment agencies. Compared to 2009, when agencies delivered 23% of assignments, the agency share of the market has grown. This may be reflective of the increasing maturity of interim management as a recruitment specialty and way of working in numerous European markets. Source of Last Assignment Via an interim or recruitment agency – 29% 29% Generated the opportunity myself – 71% 71% Northern European countries generally appear to have a more active interim management provider industry, with agencies supplying larger shares of assignments than elsewhere. This is no doubt due to the longer timeframe over which interim management has been developing as a way of working and a viable career choice. Compared to 2011, France’s provider industry appears to have matured, delivering 39% of assignments, compared to only 28% in 2011. Italy and Ireland remain as markets in which interim managers are largely reliant on their own networking and selling to deliver assignments, with agencies providing only 16% of Italian assignments and 21% of Irish assignments. Source of Last Assignment 100% Agency Agency Agency Percentage of Respondents 90% Agency 80% Agency Agency Self Self 70% 60% Agency Self Self Self 50% Self Self 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Belgium France Germany Ireland Italy The Netherlands United Kingdom 11
  14. 14. Type of Agency Within the agency sector, interim management specialist providers have the dominant share. Among interim managers who in the past two years sourced interim work through an agency or recruitment business of some type, recruitment practices specifically focused on interim management have a 66% market share. Large management recruiters have a nearly 21% share, with volume recruitment businesses and professional services firms dividing up the remaining 14% of the market. Social media is playing an increasing role in connecting interim managers with work. Fully 46% of interim managers we surveyed had sourced an assignment via a client who reached out to them over LinkedIn, Xing or another social or business networking site, up strongly from 28% in 2011. Type of Agency 2% 12% 24% 11% 21% 31% Interim management practice, part of firm with other executive recruitment services – 11% Interim management agency generalist (able to place all types of interim roles) – 31% Professional services firm (example Big 4, other accountancy firms, etc.) – 12% Large management recruiter – 21% 12 Interim management agency specialist on the type of role needed – 24% Large Recruitment Process Outsourcing firm (examples Alexander Mann, Capita) – 2%
  15. 15. Drivers of Interim Management Engagement A range of organisational gaps or imperatives can drive the need for an interim manager within a company. When interim managers were asked to specify the “primary driver” for their client’s hiring them for their most recent assignment, the two most common reasons were change management (32%) and crisis management (15%). Other factors driving more than 10% of assignments were skills gaps (15%) and the need to implement a major initiative (13%). The most traditional or “obvious” reason for engaging interim managers – a temporary absence, or slow permanent recruitment – were not so important as the main reason for the engagement. Main Reason for Engagement 1% Change management: to lead a major improvement/transformation project – 32% 4% 5% 8% 32% Crisis management: to address urgent and major issues/turnaround – 15% Implementing a major initiative (product launch, relocation) – 13% 8% Temporary "skill/competence" shortage – 15% Temporary management "capacity" shortage – 8% Strengthening a project team – 8% 15% 15% 13% Bridging time needed to hire someone permanently – 5% Bridging time needed to fill a temporary absence (illness, secondment) – 4% Client was required by its Bank or Tax/Government authority to engage an interim executive or board – 1% Primary drivers of clients’ engagement of interim managers are quite similar by country. Change management is the leading reason clients engage interim managers in every country, accounting for between 24% and 44% of assignments. In Belgium, Germany and Italy, crisis management is the second most important driver of interim assignments. Skills shortages drive strong shares of assignments in France, Germany and the UK. Reasons for Engagement by Country Belgium France Germany Ireland Italy The Netherlands United Kingdom Change management: to lead a major improvement/transformation project 32% 31% 24% 29% 33% 44% 16% Crisis management: to address urgent and major issues/turnaround 18% 14% 19% 10% 14% 10% 8% Implementing a major initiative (product launch, relocation) 13% 13% 9% 16% 13% 13% 11% Temporary "skill/competence" shortage 13% 16% 17% 9% 14% 14% 35% Temporary management "capacity" shortage 5% 9% 7% 13% 10% 6% 8% Strengthening a project team 4% 6% 7% 10% 11% 4% 2% Bridging time needed to hire someone permanently 7% 6% 10% 9% 3% 5% 9% Bridging time needed to fill a temporary absence (illness, secondment) 7% 5% 7% 3% 1% 3% 10% 13
  16. 16. Asked about “all factors involved” in driving their last interim management engagement, responses were consistent with the “primary driver” answers, with change management, implementing a major initiative, crisis management and skills and capacity gaps being the most important instigators for engaging an interim manager. These responses show a similar pattern to our prior research two years ago. Again, sudden temporary absences were factors in only a small portion of assignments. All Reasons for Engagement 800 700 748 22% Number of Mentions 600 500 524 15% 400 440 13% 527 16% 429 13% 409 12% 300 200 192 6% 100 90 3% 0 Change management: to lead a major improvement/ transformation project Implementing a major initiative (product launch, relocation) Crisis management: to address urgent and major issues/ turnaround Temporary "skill/ competence" shortage Looking at what types of roles European interim managers take on, whether general management, functional management, programme or project management, or subject matter expert, the share of each in the market is almost equal, with executive management roles (general or functional) leading project roles. Aligning with the reasons clients engage interim managers, where skill/competence shortages were somewhat important reasons, we see interim managers engaged to assume roles where they impart a specialist area of knowledge or skill comprising 27% of assignments. Temporary management "capacity" shortage Strengthening a project team Bridging time needed to hire someone permanently Client was required by its Bank or Tax/Government authority to engage an interim executive or board Type of Role 100% 90% 20% 80% 70% 27% 60% 50% 10% 0% Expert / Consultant (you were engaged to bring specific specialist competencies) – 27% Functional Management role (CFO, Marketing Director, HR Director) – 26% 27% General Management role (for example CEO, MD, Country Manager, Division Manager) – 27% 30% 20% Programme or Project Management role – 20% 26% 40% 14 Bridging time needed to fill a temporary absence (illness, secondment) 36 1%
  17. 17. Interim managers tend to perform most assignments solo, with only 16% reporting that in the past two years they had worked as part of a team of interim managers at the same client. Among interim managers who had completed team assignments, the reasons are wide-ranging, and tended to be concerned with wholesale business transformation: • Two interim managers to deal with a crisis situation in a group of 4 companies based in two cities 600km one from the other. • Project leadership for a large insurance company to design a new high compliant system for the solvency II project. This included rapid product design, implementation, compliancy approvals and user feedback integration. Team existed out of people from PwC, Avanade and Deloitte. • Leading a business change team (mostly interim), as well as leading a functional team (mostly permanent). • The project used 4 analysts working on a compliance project at a bank, all of whom were interim managers. • The company was split between permanent and interim managers. Part of the old permanent management was criticized by the CEO for being stuck and inefficient, so the CEO took on board me, the technical director and the sales manager to deliver a turnaround. • The team included 5 interim managers to save a company, myself and another as MD, the other 3 as IT manager, administration and 1 for operations. • Project team to work on relaunch of a large outlet mall. The team is composed by a temporary GM, a temporary leasing director and temporary marketing director. • Turnaround team with competences in: IT and change management (myself), financial/bank issues, operational management, sales management • It was a 10 person team working on assembly lines relocation and re-industrialisation. Work as part of a team of interim managers? Yes 16% No 84% I normally bring in experts such as CFO, CSO or COO if needed, however the best turnarounds are carried out by making incumbent management part of the interim team. 15
  18. 18. Most Important Qualities in an Interim Manager Interestingly, when asked to rank the most important qualities in an interim manager, survey respondents favoured aspects of “effectiveness” and people skills more highly than specific skills or experience in the job or function. The most important qualities highlighted were: • Ability to work strategically but also implement (23%) • Results-focused (21%) • Wide range of experience (14%) • Specific skills/experience for specific job (10%) • Ability to quickly get people on side (11%) Other respondents enhanced the list of “people skills” by adding: “able to manage stressful situations and psychological attitudes, able to manage different companies at the same time, able to build teams”, “change management and quick adaptation to company culture”, “implementing and getting buy-in for change, and “speed of comprehension, adaptability to new situation, team and tools”. One observed that it was “a pity that we can only tick 3 qualities. The qualities necessary to help the customer depend on the customer's situation, [whether they are] struggling to survive, [or in] expansion ...” This adaptability and flexibility were echoed by many respondents, including one who commented: “An interim manager is like a puzzle piece. He perfectly fits the difficulty of the enterprise: a real orchestra conductor, composing with all the personalities and all environments.” Interim Manager Perspective 23% Ability to work strategically but also to implement 21% Results-focused Wide range of experience 14% Specific skills/experience for specific job 10% Ability to quickly get people on side 11% 8% Independence Ability to mentor 7% Not side-tracked by company politics 5% Willingness to speak mind when required 4% Resilience 3% 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 Number of Mentions 16 800 900 1000 1100
  19. 19. Client Data Ninety percent of interim management assignments from the candidates we surveyed were with clients in the private sector, with larger corporations (over 250 employees) comprising 43% of assignments and SMEs (small to medium-sized enterprises having under 250 employees) commanding a 46% share. The public and not-for-profit sectors use interim management less in Continental Europe, with merely 11% of assignments, compared to the UK, where their share of assignments in our survey is 24%. Type of Client 8% 3 % 46% 43% Small to medium-sized enterprises (< 250 employees) – 46% Larger corporations (> 250 employees) – 43% Public sector organisations – 8% Charitable organisations – 3% Industry in Which Interim Managers Surveyed Completed Last Assignment Industrial / Manufacturing 501 IT / Telecoms / Technology 204 Financial Services / Banking 110 Business Services 86 Health / Medical / Research 84 Retail / Distribution 81 Building / Construction 69 Transport / Logistics 65 51 Media / Marketing / Entertainment 50 Professional Services Government / Public Sector 44 Natural Resources / Utilities 38 Leisure 26 Charity / Not-for-profit / NGO 11 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500 Number of Respondents 17
  20. 20. Interim Managers Look Ahead Interim management can act as a bellwether, signalling changes in the economic climate. We have already seen earlier in this report that primary reasons companies engage interim managers include change management (leading a major improvement/transformation project); crisis management, to address urgent and major issues/turnaround; and implementing a major initiative such as a product launch or relocation. Many of these changes are driven by shifts in the broader economic environment, as companies equip themselves to weather a recession or capitalise on an emergent trend. As the front-line practitioners leading these special projects, interim managers have a unique vantage point from which to assess the direction of the economy and business cycle. We asked the interim managers in our survey when they thought Europe would return to normal economic growth/stability: this year, by the end of 2015, 2016 or later, or whether the economy is already in a sustainable recovery. Their answers show that from their perspective, there is still some ways to go before something resembling normality is achieved. More than three-quarters (76%) felt the economy wouldn’t be in a normal/steady growth state until the end of 2015 or later. Only 7% felt the economy is already back to normal. Opportunity for interim managers 20% 13% 67% Companies will use interim managers more, to drive growth, or for other reasons – 67% (1062) Companies will use interim managers less, because they can hire permanently, or for other reasons – 13% (211) No change in companies' use of interim managers – 20% (328) 18 Return to economic growth/recovery 7% 17% 37% 39% The economy is already in a sustainable recovery – 7% (104) In 2014 – 17% (258) By the end of 2015 – 39% (594) Not until 2016 or later – 37% (561) Does an improving economy mean more or less opportunity for interim managers? In individual cases, this surely depends upon a particular practitioner’s skills and experience: a Finance Director with experience in turnaround situations may find more opportunity in a down market than a Marketing Director whose forte is new product launches. Executives Online recruiters observe that interim management moves at the initial stages of a change in the business cycle. At the beginning of a downturn, companies “throw out all the contractors” to deliver a one-off improvement to their bottom line, resulting in a drop in interim management usage. Then, at the beginning of a recovery, they once again use interim managers, to begin expansionary projects to which they are still wary of committing permanent staff. Earlier data in this report show the decline in utilisation and day rates in the recession’s earlier period, and improvement in 2011 carrying on into 2014, corresponding with the gradually improving European and global economy. When we asked the interim managers how a European economic recovery would affect the interim management sector, most (67%) felt companies would use interim managers more. Only 13% believed there would be less use of interim management as the economy improved, and 20% thought there would be no change.
  21. 21. Conclusion Multiple key findings of this edition of Executives Online’s be open to the possibility of a permanent, employed role runs European Interim Report point to a steady, gradually improving counter to much of the prevailing “wisdom” about interim business climate. Compared to prior years, interim managers managers never returning to employment. The proportion of are more likely to be on assignment than between interim managers who intend never to return to employment is assignments, and perceive themselves to be more busy; stronger in countries where the interim management profession however the bulk of this improvement in utilisation was already is better-established. seen in 2011, with 2013’s figures representing only a minor shift. That 2013 did not continue the strength observed in 2011 mirrors the “double-dip” of economic difficulties experienced in many European countries. 2008 marked the onset of the global financial crisis, then 2010-11 showed some recovery, only to see large cuts in public spending create further challenges in 2012-13. Assignments have lengthened slightly, with the Clients continue to engage interim managers for two broad sets of reasons: to bridge a gap, or to deliver a specific business result in a project or initiative of fixed duration. In Europe, change management – the leading of a major improvement or transformation project – is the primary reason companies bring on an interim manager. Gaps take on many average assignment lasting a robust 9.3 months. Day rates, meanings, with our research pointing to skills gaps being the too, are stable at a Europe-wide average of €749 per day. second most important reason for interim management Interim managers report that the economy is improving, but a assignments. Interim managers are valued for their strategic yet strong majority believe that Europe will not return to normal hands-on abilities, their focus on results, and their wide range economic growth/stability until the end of 2015 or later. of experience as chosen specifically to match the task at hand. A quite diverse and vibrant group of people, and assignments, Despite the revolution in online business and professional exist within this positive context. The Interim Report shows that networking, the proportion of interim management assignments some attributes of the interim management talent pool have transacted via a third-party provider such as Executives Online remained remarkably constant: age and years of experience is growing and now delivers 29% of all assignments. Within the continue to portray interim management as drawing upon the sphere of assignments transacted through a recruitment skills and experiences of professionals with many years of track company of any type, it is the interim management specialists record. The proportion of female interim managers stands at which are most preferred by interim managers, compared to only 10%, but the participation of women in interim more generalist agencies and search firms. management continues to exceed that of women in the broader arena of board-level roles. We hope you have enjoyed Executives Online’s European Interim Report. If your company or organisation is considering Interim managers have always been pragmatic about the type engaging an interim manager, contact your nearest Executives of role and way of working which will hold their interest Online office and one of our directors will be happy to longterm. That 80% of the interim managers we surveyed would assist you. About Executives Online Executives Online Group is an international professional and skills, in virtually every functional and professional services company that employs a unique blend of online discipline. At the heart of Executives Online’s service is our methods and personal, proficient service to deliver targeted Global Talent Bank, a growing and constantly refreshed and cost-effective executive recruitment, for interim network of over 150,000 candidates. These individuals management and permanent roles. Our service delivers senior represent a diverse and highly experienced resource for directors and managers selected for their specific experience companies facing an urgent need for talent. 19
  22. 22. "A consultant might draw up a great strategic plan, but companies today want more than this, they need someone who can cope with the strategy but even more importantly deliver it too. For that mix of abilities you need interim managers. They are prepared to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in with your management team – not sit on the sidelines giving advice. You can get a senior interim manager, who perfectly matches your business, on board incredibly fast. With interims – from that first call to an interim supply agency, you can have someone through the door, and delivering in a week." Duncan Sedgwick CEO, Energy Retail Association (former Business Transformation Director, Powergen) "I can strongly recommend Executives Online as a valuable partner for a small international business such as ours. They are truly international, down to earth and prepared to go the extra mile to satisfy a client, even a small company. Executives Online have helped our business in the recruitment of a manufacturing manager for our plant in Belgium. We were very impressed with their efficiency, focus and ability to deliver. The overall experience was very good, the consultants readily available and responsive at all times, the candidates presented to us were a close match to our requests. Their ability to work internationally and in teams was refreshing. We would use their services with confidence on any future occasion. " Cristina Scapparino General Manager, Neoceram 20 "We chose the interim management route early on to help us keep pace with our expansion plans. New challenges were on the horizon and we needed additional executive management support, fast. I was pleasantly surprised when a number of highly suitable candidates were proposed [by Executives Online], all within a matter of days. The appointment immediately brought us new momentum and greater focus. We were delighted with Peter's contribution." David Cole Managing Director, Buyenergyonline "Greg brought to The Carphone Warehouse his obvious experience and knowledge which he gladly shared with others. He hit the ground running, quickly putting all the necessary protocols and support systems in place. But more fundamental than this, he gave our team a lot of confidence. At a time when they could have felt under enormous pressure, he made them believe in themselves, and not be intimidated by the challenge. He wasn't cheap but I didn't want cheap, I wanted good – and that's certainly what I got. Companies like ours can't afford to have plans put on hold while we recruit. That's why we went to Executives Online – and once again, in days that had found me just the person I needed." Attiq Qureshi Hosting and Support Director, The Carphone Warehouse
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