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The market for HR interim managers remains buoyant as their pay soars

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The demand for HR interim managers is increasing and their daily rate of pay has jumped by 11% from 547 in December to 614 in June.

According to Russam GMS, which carried out the research, this can be attributed to the need for HR specialists to manage organisational change in the public and private sector, as well as redundancy programmes.

Other sectors that were buoyant included engineering, with interims experiencing pay increases of 10.5% from £451 to £504; retail where interims saw a 11% increase in pay from £591 to £670 and in the supply chain and utilities sectors where they saw their pay increase by around 20%.

Sales and marketing specialists didn’t fare so well, however, and saw their pay drop by 14% from £608 to £502 a day. Pay rates also fell by 11.7% for interims in the not-for- profit-sector from £521 to £460 day; interims in IT experienced a 5.7% drop in pay from £649 to £612 and pay rates dropped by 2% for finance interims from £579 to £568.

Interestingly, the planned job cuts in the public sector have not yet hit the interim management market and activity levels and pay rates have remained pretty stable in central and local government, education and the NHS over the past six months. Central government showed a slight decrease in pay levels from £628 to £610 (-2.8%). However, this was balanced out by a 6% increase in local government, where pay rose from £516 to £549. There was a 5% increase in pay for interims working in education and a 2.8% decrease for those employed in the NHS.

Regionally, the fortunes of interims were equally mixed. Those in the South of England maintained their average daily rate of £619 a day, while interims working in central England saw their pay drop from £623 to £591. No doubt this is a reflection of the relatively high level of job cuts in the Midlands compared with the rest of the UK. Interims in the North and West saw slight increases in their pay rates.

Interims in their 20 and 30s won the most assignments during the past six months, followed by those in their 40s, then 50s and then 60s.  However, interims in their 40s are commanding the highest salaries with an average daily rate of £633.

There remained a high level of commitment to the interim industry with 29% of interims stating they wouldn’t consider taking a permanent position, 40% saying they would happily move in between interim and permanent work and with 49% prepared to take a full-time job if it was a tempting enough offer. Only 9% said they were actively looking for a permanent job.

Charles Russam, chairman of Russam GMS said: "As we are slowly emerging from the recession, we are seeing a sharp increase in levels of interim activity in the market and growth in many sectors. But we expect that sentiment must soon be affected by impending public-sector job cuts and their ripple effects through the rest of the economy.


"The competition for assignments remains tough and the more astute and agile interims are looking hard at their skillsets to make them sharp, focused and relevant.  Our advice to interims is to be flexible, hone your skills and, where necessary, learn new ones and look for opportunities through networking, providers and personal contacts. Interims who are the most entrepreneurial will fare the best in this market."