The need for interims
Last quarter’s report revealed that HR interims with experience in managing and implementing restructuring programmes were a sought-after commodity because of restructuring in preparation for the new clinical commissioning groups. Though HR interims are still in high demand, we have found that senior-level change management professionals with solid NHS experience are fundamental to a successful transitional period and are therefore in particular demand. This can be attributed to the necessity to streamline departments.
Now more than ever, it’s important for change management specialists to deal with worry and stress among staff in order to manage motivation and performance in times of complex change. This has created a strong demand for efficient and experienced HR interims who can counteract negativity and help cultivate an atmosphere of positive staff sentiment.
A place for interims in the public sector
Employee relations are a hot topic at the moment. The upcoming disposal of primary care trusts has unsettled the public sector. The subsequent restructuring that this change has prompted is unnerving to some NHS professionals; pay freezes coupled with fear of redundancies have resulted in some permanent employees seeking new opportunities. To maintain critical services within HR departments, interims have been called upon to bridge the gap.
HR interims are enjoying the upsurge in opportunities and the challenging and rewarding projects that have presented themselves. Amid NHS restructuring, interims are also being drafted to look at long-standing, complex cases of employee absences within departments. There are also opportunities for merger specialists to oversee the psychological and performance-related implications amongst personnel as trusts merge ahead of new structures.
Last year there were fears that the Agency Workers Regulations would dramatically change the face of the interim employment market. Thankfully, this does not seem to be the case. Professional candidates are still enjoying the flexibility and financial rewards of working as an interim and, as yet, we have not seen any hint of a reduction in roles since the legislation came into force.
The future of the interim market
There is no doubt that the HR interim market is healthy, particularly within the NHS. Primary care trusts are still reluctant to offer contracts for permanent staff, and until the new clinical commissioning groups are fully established, this trend is likely to continue. We are currently enjoying our busiest six months in three years, and this is partly due to the high calibre of interim candidates looking for opportunities. As the economy begins to recover, the option to hire interims without the commitment of permanent employment will continue to be an attractive option for employers.
Aside from the NHS, we predict other specialist divisions like financial services and commerce & industry will also experience demand for interim professionals. While the UK employment market as a whole faces an unpredictable future, the demand for interims will intensify while companies continue to restructure in order to become more efficient.