Rutherford Cross’ dedicated interim team have endured a turbulent year but have seen demand for interim finance professionals recover somewhat in Q3 and 4. There was a drop in demand for interims in Q2 as businesses adapted its working practices during lockdown and those companies with employees on furlough quite rightly felt it was not appropriate to utilise short term support unless it was business critical.
With it being established that the role of the finance professional can be effectively delivered from home and fewer businesses utilising the furlough scheme, interim demand has returned strongly in the second half of the year.
The reasons for businesses requiring interim support during the second half of the year has been wide ranging with the following being the key drivers:
- Immediate cover required during the permanent recruitment process
- Systems Projects or backfilling secondments onto Systems Projects
- Support of rapid business growth or acquisition
- Maternity/Paternity cover
- Financial Planning/Modelling future scenarios
- Support of specific projects
- Requirements related to statutory reporting
The immediate impact of lockdown saw more improvement programmes and projects being put on hold. The improvement projects have now come back online into the second half of the year. The permanent market has been very strong during this period and the requirement to cover gaps until permanent hires land has led the increased demand for interims. High-growth sectors such as Pharma/Healthcare, Renewables and Tech have utilised interims to support their rapid growth spurts. Finally, the need to scenario plan the future has resulted in an increased demand for FP&A and Modelling skills on a short-term basis.
In H2 Rutherford Cross has been supporting businesses across a range of sectors with the following sectors leading the demand (in order of number of assignments in H2):
- Public Sector
- Charity/Social Enterprise
- Financial Services
Post lockdown the demand for interims has increased markedly in the Pharma/Healthcare sector with approaching a third of interim assignments being in the Public & Not for Profit Sectors and a fifth in FMCG. Both Tech and Renewable Energy are emerging as sectors who are starting to utilise specialist Senior Finance interims to support the start-ups and high-growth companies in these spaces.
The availability of talented candidates in the Senior Finance interim market has continued to evolve. There is still a growing number of high calibre individuals who are choosing to be career interims as they seek to build their reputation across various businesses and sectors, enhance and accelerate their skillset and learning, or simply to enjoy a more varied work life balance. This talent pool has been enhanced by finance professionals who have involuntarily come onto the interim market from businesses that have been adversely impacted by lockdown market conditions such as those in the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality sectors. These candidates have welcomed the opportunity to utilise their skills in a different sector through interim assignments.
Looking ahead into 2021 Rutherford Cross anticipates continued increase in demand for interims. With IR35 changes into the private sector being introduced in April 2021 this may reduce the number of opportunities for Ltd Co. Contractors but those assignments deemed to be inside IR35 will be delivered by individuals operating on a PAYE Day Rate, Umbrella Day Rate or on a fixed term salaried basis.
Rutherford Cross looks forward to supporting this increase in demand in 2021. If you would like any advice or information relating to the interim market please get in touch with [email protected] or [email protected].