First half of 2022
The first half of 2022 showed increasingly high levels of demand for interim expertise at short notice. A recent IIM survey illustrated that the “snapshot” percentage of Interims who were 'on assignment' at the end of April rose to 74%, up from 66% during 2021.
Many clients we have engaged with during the first half of this year are experiencing real challenges around retention, losing highly qualified finance professionals who are being ‘poached’ with offers of significant financial increases from new employers. Clients have commented that the demand for highly technical and commercially competent finance staff in the “war for talent” has frustratingly increased in the last six months. In fact, a high proportion of clients have been proactively reviewing their current remuneration / reward schemes to ensure their best performers do not become a target, mitigating the risk to their business.
Many clients have been caught off guard with historic notice periods for long-serving employees lasting only three months, resulting in gaps to be managed across permanent critical roles within areas such as: financial control, audit and group financial reporting at very short notice. As such, many clients have required short term interim support to bridge the gap. In several cases, despite an ongoing permanent Search, some clients have opted to convert the interim to a permanent member of staff, appreciating the value they have offered and having already benefited from the interim’s degree of objectivity and input, illustrating how their business can be improved upon. The breadth of experience across multiple sectors, structures and organisations interims can bring to an organisation is highly advantageous in these uncertain times.
In addition, over the last six months, Norman Broadbent Interim has seen an increase in demand of 35% of clients considering an interim to support key projects encompassing: Finance Transformation, Strategy, Supply Chain, Chief Operating Officers and various other leadership mandates. The IIM research indicates similar trends across both operations and strategy where clients are keen to engage interim individuals. These individuals will not only drive the strategic direction required but also be accountable for delivering the solution, working alongside internal resource within the business as opposed to outsourcing to management consultancies.
Looking forward to the second half of 2022, we predict a continued, consistent demand for flexible highly skilled resource. If the economists are correct in predicting a slowdown in the UK economy, what will not change is the requirement to improve financial operations through simplification of finance processes and automation of back-office tasks, coupled with individuals who can add value at short notice. Operating margins will come under scrutiny, and interims will form an appealing, cost-effective solution as an alternative to consultancy with the big four accountancy firms.
With ongoing economic uncertainty, interim solutions will continue to be critical for clients in delivering both gap management and providing the expertise to effectively deliver change and transformation programmes. Interims will continue to play a crucial role as Boards and Leadership Teams balance the needs of having the appropriate effective delivery resource, whilst not wishing to over gear on costs / headcount.
Jonathan Stringer – Managing Director, Financial Leaders Practice, Norman Broadbent
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