Learnings From Across the Pond
To Contrast and Compare — The European Interim Market
“Interim roles are growing across Europe.”
The concept of interim management began in the Netherlands in the mid-1970s. Dutch companies wanted a model that would enable them to conveniently access specific, senior management talent for pre-determined periods to deliver on key tasks and bring new initiatives to life. By forming a panel of experienced senior managers and placing them on secondment into a variety of companies to deliver on specific management tasks, the concept of interim management was created.
A strong element of the value proposition of interim management throughout Europe was and are the stricter employment laws. Unlike “at will” employment relationships typically found in the US, European rules make it more difficult to end an employment relationship without considerable financial penalties.
Labor laws aside, though, the value proposition for interim executives is very similar, as expressed by executives, companies, and providers alike: speed, fresh perspective, missing skillset, and cost, to name a few.
And that’s why it makes sense to look at European markets and their recent trends, to contract and compare. There are two recently published reports:
- INIMA, the International Network of Interim Manager Associations, published a new survey reporting on experiences in Europe during 2021.
- DDIM, the umbrella organization of German interim managers, put out a report in April covering 2021 and a 2022 forecast.
Interim roles are growing across Europe. According to INIMA, there was a 7% increase from the 2021 survey in interim work, with standout growth in the UK (16%) and France (10%). According to the report, January 2022 reported an even greater rise of 11%, with the UK and France again the leader (21%).
According to DDIM, the German interim management market will grow to more than 2.5 billion euros in 2022. And there are approximately 12,000 interim managers active in 2022.
Industries / Functions
In Germany, automotive suppliers and mechanical engineering industries rely heavily on interim managers. For 2022, the expectation is an additional increasing demand in consumer goods as well as in the transport and logistics industry.
In Europe, the most wanted areas of expertise among interim management talent are General Management (30.5%), followed by these key functional areas:
In Germany, according to DDMI, the functions of Finance and HR are the most popular and, in volume, very similar to General Management. It is forecasted, though, that the use of managers for critical areas such as supply chain management, production, and operations will increase significantly.
Interim managers in Europe were exceedingly busy in 2021. The average utilization was 63%. The highest level of utilization was in Germany, where interims reported being engaged on assignment 81% of the time. Utilization levels varied by country, with Switzerland (68%), Italy (67%), and France (63%) among the leaders. Only Portugal (34%) and Spain (47%) reported utilization levels below 50%.
According to the DDMI, the capacity utilization of the interim managers in Germany is currently about 150 working days a year.
The INIMA 2021 survey also found that durations on assignments averaged just over 11 months, and the 2022 survey results found that across markets, assignments similarly lasted just less than a year. Switzerland (14.7) and Italy (14.4 months) were somewhat longer than the norm.
Overall, in Europe, 31% of interims were on assignment with start-ups and SMBs, while 40% were working with large organizations of more than 500 employees. Markets varied, though: Italy (65%) and Spain (63%) were most focused on smaller and newer organizations, while interims in Liechtenstein (71%), the UK (62%), Germany (57%), and France (49%) were primarily focused on larger organizations.
Historically, in Europe, interims work full-time until the assignment ends. But fractionalization — an increasing factor in talent staffing and management — is creating new opportunities in the interim field. By market, 51% of Spanish interims and 40% of Italian interims were on part-time rather than full-time assignments. Interims in most other markets reported an average of 20–30%, and 25% was the overall European average of fractional assignments.
We at Vendux have a focus on one functional area, Sales. Though, that sometimes comes with a title and focus encompassing Sales & Marketing, Growth, Revenue, Channel, or Partnership. Our assignments currently average about ten months, very similar to the European number. 80% of our assignments are fractional, and so far, we have only worked with start-ups and SMBs. 90% of our assignments are in SAAS, Tech, and Professional Services.
DDMI — Press Release
Photo by Anne Gosewehr
Originally published at https://www.vendux.org on July 24, 2022.