Craig Davidge 29/11/2016

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has just reported that demand for both permanent and temporary candidates is at its highest since May. There are more vacancies than there are people to fill them in many sectors, including engineering and construction.

An interesting aspect of these statistics is the trend we are seeing in demand for temporary or freelance candidates at a mid to senior level, more discreetly known as interim’s, not least in the built environment sector.

I have written before about the rise in the gig economy. As skills shortages continue to prevail, combined with ongoing uncertainty over future availability of candidates from the European Union, I cannot see this trend going away any time in the near future.

Looking on the plus side, there are many positives to a temporary appointment: speed; Interim managers are usually available to start at short notice with minimum recruitment or termination formalities; they bring a degree of objectivity to the organisation, with the ability to work outside of office politics; they are very results oriented as this is the reputation that will get them their next role; they are pretty experienced individuals, often over and above the qualifications required and, not least, they can provide a ‘breathing space’ if you are quickly scaling up and can’t immediately find the talent you need.

However, you need to be very clear why you are using an interim and whether this is a strategic move or a tactical fix. For instance, are they just ’standing in’, in effect a ‘ gap filler’ until you find the right permanent employee, or are you going to be open minded enough to consider whether an interim role might serve a longer term purpose. Is this person going onto a newly created role or one that is currently empty? Are they managing a project or being integrated into the day to day business of the organisation?

A one size fits all approach to employment is no longer viable: employers need to be open minded about not just who fills the role but how they fill it.


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