-Increase in change management assignments
-Over 50s win the bulk of the work
-13.5% pay gap between women and men

Activity in the UK Interim Management market fell sharply in the six months from June to December 2011 according to the latest snap snot survey of 12,000 Interim Managers from Interim Management Provider Russam GMS. The 6% decline in activity levels follows a brief period of optimism in June 2011, when activity rose by 1.2%.

In spite of this, the average pay for interims rose by 2% from £607 to £621 a day, indicating that the bulk of the work is going to senior and highly paid interims. Pay was most buoyant in banking, insurance and financial services where interims commanded £737 a day, up 6% from £694 in June 2011. Interims in the charity sector and Not-for-Profit sector also experienced a jump in pay (12%) from £424 to £477 in the past six months.

Interims working in IT didn’t fare as well – their pay dropped by 12% from £656 to £578. There were also pay cuts for interims working in the public sector, where the use of interims has fallen significantly. Those working in central government saw their pay fall by 9% from £669 to £609 and those in local government experienced a 7% drop from £550 to £510.

One clear trend emerging from the research is the evolving nature of interim assignments. Traditional ‘gap filler’ roles – covering maternity leave or sudden absences now only make up 13% of assignments. The majority of businesses now recruit interims with specialist skills to work on strategic projects, undertake business restructuring, implement new strategies or lead change programmes. A fifth of interims said that coaching and mentoring of internal teams was also part of their role.

Charles Russam, Chairman of Russam GMS comments, “Interim Management has come of age. Companies are now hiring interims more strategically – to run special projects such as post-merger integration or change programmes. Gap filling projects still have their place, but, more interims are working with CEOs to deliver change and modernise and progress businesses. Interestingly, around 5% now classify themselves as change managers – it has become a new job discipline. Companies have also recognised that the benefits interims can bring in terms of coaching and developing internal teams.”

There are no age barriers in the industry. Interims in their 50s and 60s represent 78% of the market and those in their 50s, who make up the core of the market, command the highest pay rates – £648 a day, compared with £628 for 40 year olds and £557 for interims in their 60s. Unfortunately, the industry is still male dominated. The average daily rate for women was £555, 13.5% less than men who are paid £630. However, the research shows that this is because greater numbers of women work in sectors which tend to be less well paid. 20% of women said they worked in charities and a further 20% worked in the NHS or the public sector. Just 8% work in financial services where wages are higher.

Charles Russam, Chairman of Russam GMS comments, “We are pleased that interim management offers such good career opportunities for people in their 50s – they win the bulk of the work and are the most highly paid. On a negative note, the industry is still male dominated. We are disappointed to see a big pay gap between men and women – although it does appear to be linked to the sectors in which they work. We want to attract greater number of women into the industry and this is the main goal of our women’s business network, Interim women.”

Jason Atkinson, Managing Director, Russam Interim comments, “Certain industry sectors, such as financial services, are starting to look livelier. It seems that companies have realised that the current economic climate is the new norm and are starting to spend again in order to win competitive advantage. There is also a growing demand for interims overseas – we believe this is where the market is heading and we are developing our international capability in response to this demand with the launch of Russam International.”