Do you have senior level business experience? Then a career in Interim Management might be for you and might help you get the perfect work/life balance, argues Rachel Youngman, Chair of Interimwomen.com.
If you have senior level business experience and are looking for a dynamic and challenging new career that enables you to work in a more flexible, project driven way for different organisations, then why not consider a career in Interim Management?
Interim managers are independent business experts or project managers with specialist skills. They are hired by organisations to deliver specific strategic projects and usually have many years’ experience under their belts and a track record of achievement. They are highly adaptive, flexible and capable of going into different companies and delivering immediate results, which is perhaps why they are becoming increasingly popular in private and public sector organisations.
In January, interimwomen.com surveyed over 700 women working as Interim Managers and found that 66% of women gave up their permanent roles to become Interim Managers in order to work more flexibly, 60% claimed that Interim work is more interesting and challenging than their previous jobs, 47% said they had acquired new skills and enjoyed working in different industry sectors and 37% of women said they are earning more money than previously.
Perhaps for a combination of these reasons, more women have come into the industry in the past couple of years. Russam GMS, a provider of interim managers in the UK, with a database of 11,000 Interims, reported that 25% of the total number of females on its database has registered since January 2008. And, an Ipsos MORI report by the Interim Management Association (IMA) this year claimed that women now make up a third (32%) of interim executives, which is a 10% increase from last year.
Some of these women are those that in recent years have left senior management roles before they reach board level in order to take on new challenges, such as setting up their businesses or becoming freelancers or self-employed consultants.
This trend was identified in 2007 by Pricewaterhouse Coopers when it reported a 40% drop in the number of women holding senior management positions citing increased childcare costs and a streak of entrepreneurialism as the main causes. It could also be that senior level women are still in search of equal pay with men which a career in interim management affords. A report from the Institute of Directors in 2008 claimed that female directors still earn on average 26% less than their male counterparts. Male and female Interims can expect to earn on average around £600 a day depending on experience and industry sector, so it can be a lucrative career option.
Interim management will suit someone who wants to run their own business. Interims operate through their own limited company, so if you are thinking about becoming an interim you will need to be able to do things associated with running a business, including drawing up business plans, marketing strategies, and potentially hiring an accountant to support you.
In addition, you will need to adapt your CV. An interim CV will look different to a standard CV and needs to be carefully tailored for each assignment, highlighting the key experience and skills that are relevant.
Then you need to get out there and network. If you’re leaving employment to become an interim make sure you retain as many contacts as possible with former colleagues and clients; go to events where your potential clients will be and join industry networking groups.
Get as much advice as possible from experienced interims through groups such as Interimwomen.com and get to know the Interim Management Providers that specialise in your industry sector.
You may also need to develop your professional skills. The IMA Institute also is a great source for training and development. It offers a workshop for new interims and a series of professional development courses in conjunction with the Open University.
Remember, you may need to be persistent and tenacious as it might take a few months to win your first assignment, but be patient and try to gain as much experience as you can in your chosen industry sector. When I become an interim, I wanted to work in the charity sector, however, I didn’t have enough experience behind me so I became a volunteer and my first assignment came as a result of my volunteer work.
Interim management is a challenging and highly rewarding career option for women and men, but it is not for everyone. If like me you enjoy a challenge and get excited about working for different organisations identifying and then fixing their problems, then I would recommend you take the leap.
Rachel Youngman is Chair of Interimwomen.com
If you are interested in finding out more about interim management, Interimwomen.com is holding an breakfast event on 25th November 2009 at the Athenaeum Club in central London. Guest speakers are David Harries from the IMA Institute and Pippa Blackemore, a business development and networking expert. Tickets cost £30 plus VAT and you can bring a guest for half price.