The economic downturn altered the mindsets of many organisations with regard to the way they structure their human resources. One example of this is interim management – a market that flourished during the recession and from which we expect to see big things in 2011.

In the wake of the global financial crisis, companies are addressing their staffing needs more cautiously; prompting the rise of the interim manager. Demand is increasing for highly skilled professionals in this field – the perception is that they can ‘hit the ground running’ and produce rapid, strategically-sound results for businesses.

In the recruitment industry we are seeing more and more professionals forging careers as specialist interim workers, and more companies recognising their value, particularly within the banking and finance sectors. In fact, the Institute of Interim Management estimates the market for interim management services in the UK to be in excess of £500 million per annum.

Historically companies would not give ‘outsiders’ access to their systems, intelligence and structure but we are seeing this change as the market matures. Demand is particularly high for interim managers across all disciplines of project management and change management.

There are advantages for both parties. For the contractor: attractive remuneration, flexibility, contact building, increased breadth of experience and global opportunities.

And for the employer: access to objective, impartial specialists with proven track records, rapid results, pay by the hour/day (no additional expenses such as training, sick leave, benefits etc.), the transfer of new skills to existing staff and ‘no-fuss’ entries and exits.

Flexible resourcing models will become increasingly important for companies moving into 2011, particularly those seeking additional staff to deal with change and transition, financial restructure, crisis management, rapid growth and M&A activity.

It is important to note that the introduction of the Agency Workers Directive (AWD) (by approximately December 2011) will have a direct impact on how temporary workers are treated and paid by their employers. The AWD in practice proposes to place temporary staff on equal terms with full-time employees. This will present significant challenges for recruiters and companies that recruit agency staff.