In it for the short haul

They are a hard-working, fast-thinking, thick-skinned breed and, according to recruitment consultants, they are once again in demand in the travel industry.

So-called interim managers – who take on short-term contracts, flitting from one company to the next – saw a fall in demand immediately after September 11 2001, but during the past 18 months, business has picked up.

Argyle Recruitment director Rick White said interim managers now account for 15%-20% of the company’s total income.

“One of the reasons for the growth is that businesses are doing well and looking to develop and, when a firm expands, it is often better to take on a temporary manager to oversee the project than to stretch the existing management team,” he said.

Harp Wallen Executive Recruitment managing director Kristina Wallen stressed interim managers are different from management consultants, who are brought in to tell a company what it should be doing. Interim managers are the ones who do what needs to be done.

“Many individuals take on short-term positions because they see the potential of the role becoming full-time and they want to see first if they fit into the culture of the company,” she said.

There are many other reasons why companies might need managers for short periods. They might need to provide cover for permanent managers on temporary leave, such as maternity leave or sabbaticals, or to carry out seasonal tasks such as brochure production.

New Frontiers managing director Julia Feuell said: “To be an interim manager, you have to have a strong track record and be able to demonstrate how you have made a difference in the roles you have done, such as what revenues you generated, savings you made or problems you solved.”

The rewards for interim managers can by good and the shorter the contract, the higher the pay. “Taking on a role for two to three weeks can be quite lucrative, but if the position is guaranteed for six months you’re likely to get the same pay as you would in a full-time role,” said Wallen.

As a general rule, a consultant taking on a job that pays £40,000 per annum would earn £55,000-£60,000 pro rata for a three-month stint.

Interim management appeals to two types of manager, said White. Those who are looking for full-time employment who are prepared to take a short-term contract to keep their hand in, and those who work permanently as interim managers, constantly moving from one project to the next.

“At the moment the majority fall into the former category, but more people are looking at interim management as a full-time role.”


For jobs in the travel industry see our travel jobs section or visit our partner, for travel and tourism industry vacancies with some of the UK’s largest companies   



Share article

View Comments

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.