Reasons for Choosing Interim Executive Appointments UK
Interim Executive Appointments are an excellent way to find opportunities and reflects emerging trends in the job market. Gone are the days when there was a degree of ‘permanence’ (strong loyalty) to boardroom positions. Executives are also open to new challenges, whilst new opportunities are always presenting themselves through contacts networks (‘executive grapevine’). Moreover, organisations cannot afford to take the risk by appointing someone for the long-term on such a high benefits / salary packages, especially as people change jobs every couple of years (on average), with further risks of being poached by the competition.
Executive Contract Terms and Packages
Executive contracts are now becoming more performance orientated with specific targets, accountabilities and even durations (contract length) being stipulated. The banking industry is an obvious sector that has made high profile appointments, now with some executives even having a contract duration clause included. Further down the scale, employers are looking for greater flexibility, specific expertise or leadership on a particular strategic initiative, so interim executive appointments of between 6-9 months are becoming more prominent (sometimes fixed term periods of up to 2 years feature).
Interim Appointments and Headhunters
There has been the growth in headhunting firms specialising in interim appointments that offers the right blend of talent to organisations without the risk of making long-term appointments, usually to lead a particular strategic initiative (programme). Contracts tend to be offered on a fixed-term basis, with flexibility to renew or re-negotiate agreements at a later point. However, company benefits may be less, although employers often give a higher salary or performance incentives to attract talented people. Interim appointments can include immediate board positions (someone has left or is on gardening leave), consultant-led positions (specialist expertise without employing external consultants) or exceptional candidates leading key programmes (i.e. strategic change or transformation). There are specialist headhunters operating in this sector – Interim Management and Executive Recruitment Services.
Benefit of Interim Executive Roles
There are mutual benefits for the executive job seeker and for the company recruited to. Companies benefit from added flexibility and less long-term risk. Meanwhile, executives can use this flexibility to their advantage. Firstly, it gives candidates additional opportunities for seeking appropriate roles, especially if being unable to compete for the permanent equivalent positions. Secondly, executive job seekers can command a higher salary (daily rate), whilst being about to walk away after the contractual period has finished (good peace of mind). Thirdly, roles can be very diverse with exciting (high profile) projects, all adding to accumulated experience over time.
One of the emerging trends is for companies not going for out-and-out executives in leadership positions. Certain sectors like healthcare, pharmaceuticals and life sciences are tending to look for specific expertise or guidance on certain strategic initiatives. These organisations often have very flat structures and invariably have executive leadership teams in place, so benefit from acquiring specific expertise to lead various programmes. Such candidates tend to be employed in interim roles. Rather than providing executive leadership in the conventional sense, they are now providing subject matter expertise and guidance to make best use of their skills, specialist knowledge and sector expertise in a very targeted way. This is giving rise to senior / executive consultant leadership opportunities that are less constrained by traditional boardroom responsibilities, whilst avoiding paying exorbitant fees for external consultants.
Interim Executive Appointments: Conclusion
There are clear benefits of employing executives or executive (principal) consultants in interim roles, especially as companies seek to reduce risk in constantly changing global environments. Given less employee loyalty and people increasingly changing roles, there is the added flexibility of bringing-in high level expertise and industry knowledge for a certain period of time, without employing someone long-term or using costly external consultants.
For candidates, people are becoming more flexible and open-minded about interim roles, hence represent an increasingly important area of the executive job market. Interim opportunities are therefore worthwhile considering and show a clear shift in employment strategies of major corporations and large organisations. We would expect this trend to accelerate over time.
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