Rutherford Cross’s dedicated interim finance team experienced a busy second half of 2021. The increase in demand for interim finance professionals continued across a range of sectors in the Scottish marketplace with the number one challenge being the availability of talent.
The IR35 changes in the private sector that went live in April 2021 contributed to the rise in clients hiring temporary resource either on a Fixed Term Contract basis or through a PAYE or Umbrella Day Rate. There are however still opportunities to operate through a limited company as we are finding a number of assignments falling outside IR35. HMRC’s own prediction that 25% of assignments would fall outside IR35 has turned out to be accurate.
There are still a significant number of excellent career contractors who prefer to focus on the interim market only, regardless of whether a role is inside or outside IR35 as their motivation for working in the interim market is not purely driven by money. Many contractors choose this career route as it allows them a better work/life balance, supports their continued learning and development which is maximised by experiencing a variety of businesses and ways of working whilst also providing them with the independence that they prefer.
The demand for Interim/Temporary support in the newly qualified to Financial Controller job range remained strong throughout 2021 and is showing no signs of slowing down into 2022. The more senior interim market remained steady into the second half of last year although we definitely experienced an increase in the demand for Senior Financial Controller and Finance Director level interims.
Business Reasons Driving Interim Support
The reasons for businesses requiring interim support during the second half of the year was 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
- To support rapid business growth or acquisition
- Maternity/Paternity cover
- Requirements related to statutory reporting
Interim Recruitment by Sector
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
- Financial Services
In H2 last year demand for interims in the public and not for profit sectors has remained very high, supporting improvement projects or covering vacancies while the permanent process is underway. Rutherford Cross supplies a significant number of public bodies who have previously tried the Procurement Scotland framework but have then decided to try a different approach. Financial Services, FMCG and Renewable Energy demand has remained strong to support the continued growth in these sectors. We are also seeing a significant increase in the number of Tech businesses who are doing well and require the expertise of an interim to support what is often rapid growth.
Although availability of talented candidates in the Senior Finance interim market has been a challenge, we have been fortunate to continue to work with some very high calibre individuals, with a growing number of permanent employees looking to move into the interim market in order to get the career satisfaction they are striving for but are not getting in the current role. We are also working with more candidates who are either coming home to Scotland or are relocating to Scotland from around the world bringing with them a new perspective that many of our clients are now benefiting from.
Looking ahead to 2022, we anticipate a continued increase in demand for Senior Finance interims. We will continue to run our series of Interim Roundtables throughout the year. These are run to support the Senior Finance interims, helping them to connect with other interims and also share the best practices being delivered in the current marketplace.