An increasing demand for interim
Since 2017 Sara Petterson is responsible for our interim business in Sweden and is experiencing a market rapidly evolving. There is however still some uncertainty as to how, when and what one actually gets as a client when taking on an Interim Consultant, and what actually separates this from working with temporary staffing solutions or management consultants?
Sara, you started at Harvey Nash back in 2011 in the role as Recruitment Consultant. Can you share a little about your background and your role today?
When I started, we were a handful of colleagues who worked across various industries and with all types of roles at management and specialist level. It’s a joy to reflect on my time here and that seven years on we are now playing in an entirely different league! With another two offices in Malmö and Gothenburg, in addition to Stockholm, and a successful and close cooperation with our sister companies Alumni, Impact Executives and PAT Management, we can compete at a completely different level. I think, in fact, we say that we are the largest recruitment partner in the Nordic region, given our presence here with offices in all the Nordic countries. At Harvey Nash in Sweden, we have also gone through a fairly large reorganization, nowadays working successfully in smaller teams with niche knowledge in a whole range of functional expertise. With all these changes I have been able to grow along the way, and that is, of course, one of the foremost reasons that I am still here and enjoying what I do every day.
I am today, responsible for our interim business and part of our Swedish management team, so business development and customer relations are high on the agenda. But, I also have a small team that we need to grow in the long term and being here for my colleagues and employees in supporting and coaching others is something that I think is very rewarding and gives me a lot of positive energy!
You mention that there is some uncertainty on the interim market around what it is and what it involves. In what way do you see the market maturing?
Most of the people I now talk to have heard of interim services, there are several other players who are solely dedicated to interim services and my impression is that the market has matured very quickly in a short period of time, with an increased demand for interim solutions. Today, interim is a more qualified profession, with improved legal agreements and conditions that ensure cooperation and, of course, also creates better conditions and job security for the Interim Consultant. I think the profession is often associated with subconsultants of an older generation so it is positive to see younger individuals also now taking the step. It is a sign that this kind of work attracts and functions well in practice and that the Swedish labour market is healthy, giving people the ability to find alternate ways to earn a living beside the 8-5 job. Maybe, all the talk about a gig economy has contributed to this popularity, but I also see it as a fairly natural consequence of our relatively sluggish and slow-moving labour market, at least in Sweden today. I think it’s a very positive development where we take better care of individual potential and utilize resources in a smarter way. With interim services, it becomes easier to bring in specialist competence and skills needed on a temporary basis without having to commit to a permanent employment. The Interim Consultant will also usually want to move on to the next new challenge and not feel bound to a long-term employment contract.
How do you explain what Interim Management is?
Interim Management is about taking on a qualified person at specialist- or management level during a limited time, to solve a certain type of challenge or fill a temporary need within an organisation. This may be during a period of ongoing permanent recruitment, sick leave, parental leave or organizational change. The most common reason why a client contacts us for an interim solution is awaiting a permanent recruitment; a vacancy where the client cannot afford to be without a certain type of competence. I think an interim role can be identified in that there is a great amount of complexity in the role and in the specific challenge.
Interim consultants bring several years and solid experience but more important: relevant experience for the specific role and also, they are usually over-qualified. They can come in and deliver from day one and can work a lot more independently adding value immediately. We have had assignments that lasted for up to one year but the time period is set case-by-case at the start of an assignment and depends a lot on the Interim Consultant’s wishes. In some cases, an interim role will evolve into a permanent solution.
FACTS ABOUT HARVEY NASH’S INTERIM OFFER
Lastly, if someone is curious about taking the step and becoming an Interim Consultant, how do you think one should be as a person?
I think you should be flexible and enjoy new challenges and also deal well with change. I also think you need to be quite fearless and comfortable in taking risks. A little impatient would also do you well and a desire to find solutions to problems and see quick results. The assignments often involve landing in a bit of chaos, so; diving in and working with change management and setting things right, helping to identify a structured way of working going forwards in a long-term and more sustainable way. Once a goal is achieved it’s time to let go and move on to the next challenge. Interim consultancy is a great career choice if you want to gain work experience from a variety of environments, quickly broaden your CV and learn from different industries to increase your attraction on the labour market in the future.
Are you an Interim Consultant and want to be part of our network or perhaps your organization is facing a challenge where an interim solution may be relevant?
We would love to hear from you!
Sara Pettersson, acting Head of Interim Management
M: +46 76-798 13 63
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