Although the pandemic has had an impact on some sectors in Germany, the effects on the interim management market have been marginal. It’s a sector that’s been growing considerably over the past 20 years and shows no signs of slowing down. We spoke to Makbule Coutinho, Director for Morgan Philips Interim Management in Germany to learn more about this thriving market for specialist talent.
“The interim market is really untypical, the market volume has increased from €2.3bn in 2020 to an estimated €3bn for 2021/22. This has been due to in the main change management processes, digitalisation, corporate restructures and the increased flexibility in jobs with companies offering their staff the possibility to work remotely, far more than in the past,” says Coutinho. “The latest DDIM [Dachgesellschaft Deutsches Interim Management] annual members survey found that 70% of respondents are very positive about the future.”
The requirement for interims and interim solutions varies according to industry. Some but not all have seen an uptick in demand, “IT and pharma have been the best performing sectors [both rising by 0.5% according to DDIM figures] but HR and sales are also more than holding their own. Given also the liquidity issues and the need to maintain healthy cashflows, we’re seeing solid demand for finance professionals," notes Coutinho. The automotive industry, which has always historically been such a driving force for German industry, has dipped slightly [19.8% to 18.4%] but stronger declines have been recorded in machinery and plant engineering, banking and insurance sectors. COVID has of course played its part in this.”
Rise of female interim managers
As for the skills required, candidates are expected to possess first-class interpersonal attributes on top of their technical knowledge. “In addition to qualifications and a track record of success, hiring managers are increasingly looking for evidence of leadership experience and very strong communication skills,” stresses Coutinho. Individuals must be very focused, goal driven and adept at building relationships with both internal and external stakeholders. Soft skills are also pivotal in helping to gain the trust of co-workers, which can often be challenging.”
As well as the move to remote activity which “was very high pre-COVID” according to Coutinho, the other major trend is one to truly celebrate. “The proportion of women who are open to interim management opportunities has also increased, from 9.6% to 12.3% which is a huge positive for the sector. This means new ideas and a fresh leadership perspective. Corona has enabled women to take more risks and apply for interim roles as their work-life balance may be easier, and of course organisations are far more likely to accept remote or flexible working.”
In terms of attracting top talent, organisations must look beyond just monetary benefits. “It’s not only about remuneration, candidates are looking carefully at a company’s track record in areas such as diversity, climate change and sustainability. And with interims often having several job offers, they will go and work for the company that most closely matches their values and that they can identify with. They really are looking at the company as a whole.”
Coutinho likens the job search process for interims to buying a house. “There are definitely similarities, it takes time to buy your dream property and in the same way that you’d mobilise your personal networks, interims should be active among their professional social networks such as LinkedIn and may want to engage with specialist interim management agencies. At Morgan Philips for example we have an exclusive network [Club 5000] that brings senior level execs together from Germany and all over Europe. It’s a great place to exchange ideas with your peers and top leaders around the world.”
To find out more about interim management roles in Germany, you can email Makbule at email@example.com or connect with her on LinkedIn.
You can listen to the full interview with Makbule here: