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A brave new world - interim vs permanent

by Kersty Bletso on 20 Apr 2017

interim management v permanent assignment choice.jpg

I had an interesting conversation recently with a candidate who is looking to move on from their current role. In discussing future options we landed on whether they wanted to have another permanent assignment or if the next role would be in interim management.

I was surprised when they told me they had been advised by a well-known search firm that going down the interim management route was a career ending decision; something that was done just before you wanted to retire and would hinder, if not stymie, their chances of having another permanent role.

Newsflash! In 2008, the world changed and so did hiring

In my simplistic view, at any given point in time the people within my community are either hiring or being hired, either as an interim or permanent person. Before 2008, there was a very clear segregation between interim and permanent candidates. Clients were reluctant to take on an interim in a permanent role and vice versa, for fear of them leaving for a better paid interim role or a more secure permanent role.

Pre-2008  
40% would only consider permanent roles 20% would consider both. "Here be dragons!" 40% would only consider interim roles
*Source: my own opinion

My experience since then is that the market is a lot more fluid. Candidates will be open to taking a role that is interesting, that will give them the opportunity to work in a sector they have not worked before, or on a project doing something they have not done before.

Of course candidates will always have a preference but not to the extent that roles will not be considered. On the flipside, clients are now generally more flexible in their view of candidates who have done both, as they can see the benefits of what that person may have learned.

Post 2009  
20% would only consider permanent roles 60% would consider both. "New-chartered territory."  20% would only consider interim roles
*Source: my own opinion

Is moving to an interim role a career ending move?

While the nature of interim placements can lend itself to candidates being senior and “over-qualified”, so their skills and experience can make an immediate impact, this does not mean that it is career ending. Yes they may not progress up the career ladder within the role, but with the gig economy becoming more prevalent in the way people choose to approach their career progression, why should someone stay at a company once they have completed the project they signed up for? Once they have built something why wouldn’t they look to move on and build something else, somewhere else? This is not just limited to technology leadership but it is being seen more with the millennial workforce and the high skilled technologists.

The speed of change, especially within technology, is at a pace never before experienced. Candidates who have a breadth of experience and can demonstrate diverse approaches can be more interesting to organisations who want to change and transform.

Can you switch between interim and permanent roles?

Absolutely! It basically comes down to what the available opportunity is and what the client is looking to achieve.

The future of interim management and permanent assignments

With the changes in IR35 and the Government’s seemingly unending desire to decimate the contractor market in the UK, in the not too distant future it may not come down to whether a candidate is interim or permanent anyway, but rather how the candidate wants to be paid for that period of work, theirs and the client’s appetite for risk, or how best to get that resource into the business on whichever budget.

I would welcome any thoughts you have on this?

Creating adaptable businesses

Topics: consulting/recruitment new world, interim management

Kersty Bletso

Written by Kersty Bletso