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UK - Interim managers valued more as they get older

08 September 2011

Research by interim management specialist Impact Executives (part of Harvey Nash) reveals that more than 11% of the candidates they placed in interim management roles, over that same period, were over the age of 65.

It is understood that interim managers will typically be more mature, have grey hairs and will be over qualified for the role to enable them to deliver at speed for their clients. But the industry has changed dramatically over the past three to five years, seniority and years' of experience are no longer sufficient.

The most successful candidates, regardless of age or experience, are those that are experts in their field, with exceptional leadership skills.

According to Christine de Largy, who has over 12 years' experience in interim management and as managing director of Impact Executives, this trend is set to continue. She said "increasingly the driver for clients is to de-risk a project, so they place more value on a proven track record of delivery and technical expertise. In addition, they are looking for leaders with maturity and gravitas, people who have been here before and successfully ridden through the storm."

De Largy added "Our clients seek the expert who has solved their exact problem many times before, only in a bigger and more complex environment."

"The only thing that clients worry about is that interim managers have the intellectual agility to solve complex problems and the ability to lead and engage with everyone around the organisation to bring about tangible results and sustainable change. But of course it is true that some of our candidates that are older have had more time to hone and sharpen these skills."

We are used to talk of the War for Talent and hearing that youth or youthfulness was a key attribute. But now perhaps there is a culture shift, where wisdom is respected. And interim managers who are intellectually agile, with a proven track record and deep expertise are leading the way and their age can give them a real advantage over their younger counterparts.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports that in the last ten years the share of the British workforce aged 65 and over has doubled to 3%, an increase which continued even during the recession of 2008 to 2009.

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