National Freelancers Day: Interim Managers are an essential part of the UK workforce

Today marks the fifth annual National Freelancers Day, an event established by the PCG to recognise alternative ways of working and the valuable contribution made by freelancers to the UK’s economy. In the age of 4G, businesses need to be able to keep pace with change and attract the best and the brightest talent. Advances in technology now offer companies and individuals greater choice in the way that they operate, which partly explains the growth in the UK’s thriving freelance community.

The freelance market spans a wide spectrum, from specialist IT contractors, to interim leaders of global companies. There is perhaps not an immediate connection between interim management and freelancing, but in both cases individuals enjoy employment flexibility and autonomy on project-based work.

The Interim Management Association (IMA), a specialist sector group of the REC representing the interim provider industry, finds that the demand in the market for top level interims shows no signs of letting up. The latest Ipsos MORI survey of the IMA’s members recorded the highest growth rates for the sector and perhaps reflects the wider optimism that the UK is starting to pull out of the recession. Although the majority of interim roles (70%) continue to be for change management and turnaround projects, there are signs that companies are investing in interims to help bring them in step with their competitors.

“Interim managers are an essential part of the workforce and British businesses have come to rely on this as a flexible and reliable resource,” says Jason Atkinson, chairman of the IMA and managing director for Russam Interims. “It is a challenging career but for those at the top of their game, part of the reward of being an interim manager is the opportunity to apply industry expertise to major projects and see an immediate impact and lasting legacy. The path is not for everyone, which is why the IMA offers an induction workshop for those thinking about making the transition.”

It is positive to see that government is recognising the UK’s dynamic labour market and clawing back red tape, but it is about striking the right balance between a regulatory framework and taxation system that does not prevent companies from accessing specialists for business critical projects or constrain individuals who want to remain independent and in control of their service offering. The REC and members of the IMA have campaigned hard to ensure that proposed changes to legislation such as IR35 do not capture those operating legitimately. As the economy speeds toward 5G and beyond, the UK will need to be supportive of innovations in the way businesses and people work in order to stay competitive in a global market

– See more at: Interim Management Association

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