What Does the “Great Resignation” Mean for Interim Managers?

Now that the world is returning to a semblance of normality, with offices springing back to life, queues at sandwich shops and cities buzzing once again – I keep hearing that now is the time of the “Great Resignation” – but is this the case and what does it mean for the interim management market?

execunetselect-resignation-letterThe term ‘The Great Resignation’ comes from the expectation that after 18 months of being cooped up at home, spending a significant amount of time communicating with colleagues over a screen, many people are fatigued and are considering making a change in their role. They may have disagreed with business decisions made during the pandemic, did not feel valued by their CEO or they were planning to move in 2020 and 2021 to progress their career but decided to pause those plans believing at the time that it was safer to stay where they were. Now that business confidence has grown, for many people, it feels like a better time to move to a new company and face a new challenge.

Companies, too, are looking at the skill sets they need for this next phase post the pandemic; realizing they might not have the skills within their current leadership team and are being creative about how they attract new talent to their business.

But what does this mean for the interim managers who are out there seeking their next challenging role?

My sense is that the demands from clients and therefore the increased activity within executive search will have a direct impact on the interim management market in several ways:

  • As senior leaders (C-suite/ MD level) make a move, businesses are considering the future of particular roles and are taking the opportunity to consider what skill sets are key moving forward; reviewing whether a team needs restructuring; and looking at what changes need to be impacted at pace. So therefore, bringing an interim manager in to the business at that critical stage enables the business to address key areas of change before the search for a permanent executive begins. This is key particularly in regulated environments such as the financial services sector.
  • For the last 18 months we have thought that businesses would be going through large scale transformation/change programs, but this did not happen to the extent that was expected over the pandemic period. However, we are starting to see this taking place and expect this driver of change will continue for the next 6 – 12 months. When an accelerated change of pace is needed interim managers can be a key and an effective resource.
  • We have also seen some businesses grow hugely despite the pandemic and for many executives keeping up with that pace of change has become untenable, causing movement at senior leadership level. This not only creates opportunities to bring in an injection of new talent for the future growth of the business but also creates a platform for interim managers to support those businesses on their growth journey.
  • With greater choice and demand, there are greater challenges and many executive level candidates will inevitably be leaving one, if not more businesses disappointed that they are either moving on or not accepting a role offered. We are seeing more interims used not only to provide continuity of leadership, but to also allow businesses more time to identify the right senior talent for the business long term; and to bring a fresh outlook and accelerate change within the business for the shorter term.

We have also seen a change to the speed of many of the engagements for interim managers and many senior level roles are being completed within a week from briefing stage to placement. A welcome change for interims and providers alike!

I think we are still on the upward curve and this momentum will certainly carry on through the early parts of next year, so as interim managers it is important to ensure you are in prime position for relevant opportunities and having everything needed in place including:

  • Making sure your CV is up to date, ensuring you have revised it if you have worked on a significant number of interim roles.
  • Network well with Interim Providers (such as Boyden) so they know you are ready to be presented to clients and be clear about the types of opportunities you will and won’t consider.
  • Ensure you are clear about the rates you will consider and the type of contract you will work within. If you are not willing to work inside of IR35 roles (UK only) make that clear to the provider.
  • Do some personal networking. Providers will hear about interesting and challenging roles but you will also need to ensure you are supplementing that avenue of assignments with opportunities coming from your own network.

I think now is a great time to be looking for your next interim management role with so much change taking place in the market – so good luck!

Written by Richard Plaistowe, Partner, Boyden executive Search, UK



Boyden is a premier leadership and talent advisory firm with more than 65 offices in over 40 countries. Our global reach enables us to serve client needs anywhere they conduct business. We connect great companies with great leaders through executive search, interim management and leadership consulting solutions. For further information, visit www.boyden.com

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