Umbrella Company Employees who specialise in project management will be encouraged by new evidence indicating that demand for interim managers is returning to pre-austerity levels.

The Interim Management Association’s latest Ipsos MORI poll reveals that the number of new assignments for interim managers grew by 18% in Q4 2012, rising from 324 new roles in Q3 to 382. During the same period, the number of assignments in progress rose from 1,307 to 1,433, a hike of nearly 10%.

Both figures are lower than those seen in 2011– by 4% and 1% per cent respectively – but the average length of billable assignments grew slightly in 2012 from the previous year’s 173 days to 175 days, which is the highest level yet recorded.

Programme or project management work topped the demand league table in Q4, accounting for 40% of all assignments, up five points from the previous quarter’s 35%. The private sector is responsible for most of the demand, with 72% of interim mangers contracting there compared to just 28% in the public sector. This is the largest disparity since the IMA’s Ipsos MORI survey began.

IMA chairman and Russam Interim MD Jason Atkinson welcomed the survey’s “very encouraging” results, which he believes indicate that growth in the interim industry will return in 2013 to levels last seen prior  to the public sector cuts.

He added: “Increasingly, interim managers are viewed as a cost-effective alternative to hiring management consultants or recruiting additional senior members of staff. They can be parachuted into an organisation for eight to 12 months to deliver results quickly before moving on to their next assignment.”

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