Demand for interim talent remains strong and the market is changing to meet changing client needs, says Jes Ladva, Managing Partner, Government, Financial Services and Technology.

    Crystal ball, tea leaves, runes? Not really my kind of reading material. If I want to dwell on the trends for 2023, it has to be a futurology built on the solid foundations of what we are already seeing in the market.

    Based on that, here are hopefully seven lucky transition management trends for all of us that provide insight into how the market is changing.

    1. Movement across sectors. The the dividing line between the public sector and the private sector has become much more porous. Some interim candidates are drawn to the “purpose” aspect of working in the public sector, while public sector employers have become more open to new ideas from outside traditional talent pools. There will be a demand for temps who can harness business skills with public sector values. And with sectors in short supply, looking further afield will become more and more interesting. Watch this space for further updates.
    2. A more strategic vision of hiring. The war for talent continues, but in a difficult economic climate, CFOs/DFs are keen to control recruitment costs. Gartner research reveals that HR leaders need to protect their people strategies by prioritizing non-marketable talent and recognizing “talent risks that will prevent you from achieving your strategic goals.” This is consistent with Odgers Interim’s market view and we expect to see demand for interim solutions linked to this trend in two ways. First, board-style acting appointments to help develop recruitment strategies with longer-term goals and where the organization is meant to be in mind. Second, interim managers with the background and ability to implement such strategies.
    3. Integrated IR35! Last autumn proved to be a bit of a rollercoaster for companies struggling with unpaid work (IR35) rules in the UK. During his short term as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng announced plans to repeal IR35 in April this year, but just two weeks later his successor Jeremy Hunt reversed that plan. Thus, IR35 is here to stay. It’s time to accept it, integrate it and yes, improve it. Human ressources argues that “the government must act by revising non-payroll work rules to make them more user-friendly”. We will not disagree. That said, despite some complexities and ambiguities, we don’t expect to see a negative impact on the number of acting roles in the market. Additionally, IR35 undoubtedly makes it easier to distinguish between consulting and transition management, helping organizations navigate peaks and troughs and ensure access to the right talent when they need it most.
    4. The productivity puzzle. The UK has been struggling with productivity for a long time now. As Professor Adrian Palmer of Henley Business School noted at the end of last year, “ONS statistics show that output per hour increased between 2009 and 2019 at less than half the average rate decade and is currently 20% below its pre-2008 trend rate.” Organizations need to improve the efficiency with which people and capital are combined, and there will be a demand for interim talent who can help to find answers to this puzzle. Hybrid working presents huge opportunities for productivity gains while offering increasing satisfaction and balance – but still in its infancy, expect to see greater correlation in the way which we work and the more we can produce.
    5. ESG. Of course, environment, social and governance are on the list. This has been big news for several years and we have created a pool of sustainability talent in line with the growth in demand. From now on, we need as many specialists as generalists or crusaders. What is changing is the increasing pressure on organizations to adhere to their ESG claims. There is a need for applicants to be able to more closely align operational realities with reported claims to avoid claims of greenwashing, unacceptable working conditions, etc., as governments and investors increase their level of control. Efforts are underway to improve the currently fragmented ESG reporting landscape, such as the International Sustainability Standards Board’s plans to publish IFRS Sustainability Reporting Standards this year to create a common and consistent global language for financial information related to sustainable development.
    6. Better quality NED. Not only are we seeing more people transitioning into NED roles, our candidate pool has evolved to encompass more experienced individuals who possess both executive and non-executive director skills. This fits well with the growing professionalism when it comes to NED appointments. As noted by the Quoted Companies Alliance in its 2022 survey of non-executive directors, “Recruitment methods for hiring NED have continued to move away from the use of networks and one-to-one connections and towards the use of headhunters and search firms” and “The Boards should remain committed to regular performance review.” From a candidate’s perspective, here are some great tips to position yourself for NED opportunities.
    7. Inclusion and diversity. The subject has been broached to such an extent that it is in danger of becoming overused, which makes it all the more important to get it right. Expectations around I&D rightly continue to rise among the spectrum of stakeholders and leaders need to grab the bull by the horns and do more than pay lip service. To be a true model, one must understand “equity” in the sense of fairness rather than its financial connotation. Sue Johnson, managing partner of inclusion and diversity consultancy at Odgers, explains it beautifully: “If equality is about giving everyone a pair of shoes, then fairness is about giving everyone a pair of shoes. which suits him.” Interim candidates with the skills to level the playing field, or who represent fairness in action, are well positioned to work this year.

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