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Stronger demand for senior level interim finance professionals

According to new research from leading specialist recruitment consultancy, Robert Half Management Resources, there has been a huge rise in demand for interim finance employees, managers and directors, driven partly by the need for specialist skills around year-end management and annual budgeting.

The requirement is strongest for management or C-suite level skills, with 59% of finance leaders reporting that they are more reliant on contract or temporary resources than they were a year ago.  However, reliance on non-managerial employee level interim staff is not far behind: 49% of finance leaders say they are more reliant on contract staff than 12 months before.

As well as meeting the need of new UK GAAP reporting standards by year-end and the financial modelling required in the budgeting planning process, the growth in demand for skilled interim finance specialists is also a sign that the traditional workplace is evolving to become more flexible. 

According to the vast majority (90%) of HR directors, temporary and interim professionals will play a greater role in the workplace alongside permanent employees over the next five years.  The main reasons for the change will be the cost-effectiveness of variable budgets attached to temporary and interim staff (cited by 34% of HR directors); the need for more flexible resources generally (28%); the requirement for skills that are not available in-house (16%); the move to more project-based work (15%), the ability to plan for economic fluctuations (4%) and to support increased workloads (3%).

Estelle James, UK Director of Robert Half commented: “With two-thirds of UK businesses needing to adapt to the new financial reporting framework and more starting their annual budget preparation for the coming year, the demand for skilled finance and accounting professionals continues to outpace supply. Businesses planning to hire interim or temporary professionals for Q4 should do so with urgency as skilled financial professionals are in high demand.

“It’s important to recognise that the growth in demand for temporary and interim staff identified by our research is not just down to spikes in activity but is also due to the current skills shortage. Interim professionals are a valuable resource for businesses who require specialist skills for key projects. At the same time businesses can also unlock a hidden benefit in that these professionals often share their knowledge on current best practice standards and in the process upskill existing employees.”

*This study is based on more than 200 interviews with senior finance executives from companies across the UK.