Posted by: Sam Clark

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The Change Game: Interim Market Trends from Q2 and beyond…

For those of you who are noticing a Q2 update being released in November, you may think I have come back from an extended holiday and this accounts for the late release. This couldn’t be further from the truth, the truth being the interim Reward market didn’t take its usual August break, which has meant a delay for our quarterly HR roundup…more from the Reward world later.

The major trend for Q2 (and beyond) is projects and change; BAU recruitment has taken a back seat with project delivery coming to the forefront in particular M&A activity, HRIS and systems implementations and regulatory projects. The Senior Manager’s Regime, Gender Pay Gap reporting and the upcoming GDPR data change have driven requests for seasoned interims to manage delivery of impending deadlines. Below is an overview across our business areas around recruitment and market trends from Q2 and beyond.

Senior Core HR:

Financial & Professional Services

  • There are fewer BAU BP roles coming from the large matrix organisations, the beginning of summer was certainly BP heavy, however the roles now are very much top-level Change, collective consultation roles to focus around mass redundancies, offshoring projects and the movement of back office functions, post-merger projects, organisational effectiveness, cultural change and talent.
  • There are organisational design roles off the back of integration and migration projects
  • Small to medium sized companies are hiring BP roles, this is mostly occurring in the global asset management/investment management firms.
  • Large insurance companies hiring Senior Business Partners
  • Market is candidate rich, however limited on specialist people who have proven experience of delivering on change and transformation projects
  • Seeing a real lack of quality talent within the £60,000-£70,000 bracket, lots of strong candidates opting for permanent work rather than exciting interim opportunities - possibly due to fear of instability. Clients looking for BPs or specialists who have experience with the looming regulatory regimes that are being implemented- clients wanting candidates to expand on knowledge and experience with SMCR, GDPR and MIFID II.

Commerce and Industry

  • We have seen a large variety in the roles this quarter – a positive sign in the market when clients are investing in projects such as Diversity and Inclusion, TUPE, Recruitment, Change. Not just BAU roles coming through but some exciting projects
  • There have been an increased number of roles on a temp to perm basis. Due to uncertainty in the market at the moment, companies are opting for an Interim support and temp to permanent hiring to replace permanent heads in the business
  • Processes are moving more quickly now than last quarter which demonstrates confidence in the market. After summer we saw the urgency and commitment from clients in their hiring processes.
  • Competition between clients for the top talent is now bigger than ever, and top candidates are having the opportunity to pick what they go for.


Financial & Professional Services

  • Relatively steady job flow within the interim FS/PS space. Real varied mix of roles coming through including Generalist HR Advisor level roles, HR Coordination support and as always lots of Recruitment Coordination opportunities.
  • Relatively quiet on the Junior level L&D Advisor/Coordinator roles and also internal Resourcing and Recruitment roles.
  • From the beginning of September until now we have seen a huge cry for Graduate Recruiters/Early Careers specialists to assist with the annual intakes. This has been a difficult area to recruit for due to a lack of immediately available candidates at the £40-45K mark who have experienced the full cycle and at least two graduate recruitment cycles. Graduate Recruiters with Legal or Professional Services experience have been a real interest with clients and we have struggled across the board both interim and permanent hiring.
  • Solid competition for high calibre candidates, a ‘star’ candidate will not last long in the current market without securing something quickly.
  • Headcount sign off seems fluid, and budget pressures have only becoming problematic in a small number of cases.
  • Overall, in larger organisations, hiring seems focused around needing extra support for maternity, workload and holiday cover rather than new strategic development. Whereas in small to mid-sized organisations, the continued professionalisation and diversification of HR departments is driving one off hiring across both permanent BAU roles and extra resource/project roles at all levels.

Commerce and Industry

  • The number of dual roles increased, for example HR & recruitment, HR & benefits roles – not just looking for generalist skillset but combining this with more specialist knowledge and paying premium for this.
  • The demand for Tech Recruiters in the market across permanent and interim has boomed. This has included outside of technology businesses, for example retail clients looking for top in-house talent too. It is an incredibly talent short market, big brands and those paying a premium are beating their competitors to the punch here.
  • Many businesses are looking for Resourcers - not just end to end recruiters but someone who can own the sourcing process for passive candidates outside of just processing inbound applications.
  • A lot of shorter term roles and FTCs instead of day rate opportunities at the junior level


  • The Midlands market is very buoyant, lots of interim work in the regions and clients open to offering to onboard day rate workers/contractors rather than to cover roles with internal resource.
  • Shortage of immediately available strong senior interim candidates – good Senior BP/Head of level interim candidates who are locked into contracts
  • Lack of good business partners and senior HR advisors – clients are holding on to people at this level and contracts are being extended/ good permanent people are being secured with bonuses and various pay incentives.
  • Seems to be lots of interim project based roles – TUPE projects, apprenticeship & graduate rec projects in particular
  • We had an influx of talent/recruitment roles over the summer. Clients seem to want interim recruiters who have strong stakeholder management experience and that gravitas to push back. Demand for exec level recruiters also seems to be on the rise.
  • We have seen a decrease in the demand for reward professionals

Reward & Analytics

  • The Reward interim market is incredibly active at present (as you would expect), as we enter into comp round and year end preparations, and firms need assistance to tackle the work load required.
  • We are seeing an increase in mid – senior interims required between £500- £800 per days, to tackle a myriad of projects including Gender Pay Reporting, preparation for extended SMCR, Mifid II, and potential Rem Policy changes for 2018.
  • Systems implementations are back on the agenda at present, with many firms both large and small reviewing HRIS capability and looking to upgrade their reporting ability. We are seeing a notable increase at both analyst level along with those who can project manage and lead implementations.
  • The executive interim reward market remains patchy at best, with clients opting less for senior reward trouble-shooters and looking at more operationally and technically focused reward professionals at the £700-£900 mark. Share plan design, sales incentives, and equity plans are being given back to the Big Four rather than senior interims at present.


  • We have seen a multitude of FTC contracts available due to maternity cover and BAU work
  • Majority of interim roles have been within Financial and Professional Services firms
  • Seeing more and more vacancies that encompass a hybrid of both HR and Payroll and Benefits
  • Implementation – the real buzz word of the moment with many clients implementing new payroll systems and paying a premium for high demand previous systems expertise.
  • Projects are also continuing with client outsourcing and streamlining payroll processes
  • There has been a shortage of candidates with solid Cascade experience. Northgate Resourcelink, as always, is challenging.

Please click here to view our latest Interim opportunities across all HR sectors.


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