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Spruce up your CV – interim management contracts surge in Scotland

Is the worm about to turn for skilled interim management contractors in the engineering niche? Assignments have grown year-on-year and month-on-month, but with a 15% plummet of awards of contracts in the south-east, howso?

London has long been the pot at the end of the rainbow for interim managers. Foreign investment, the hub of the UK’s own infrastructure rebuild and Europe’s single largest financial hotspot.

It makes sense, then, that opportunity for skilled contractors and project managers should be rife in and around the capital.

One only has to consider the HS2 project and the extension of Heathrow to realise exactly how suited temporary managers are to the roles required recently in the south east.

Scottish interim manager contracts increase by a third

However, the final quarters of 2012 saw the black and white of it fly in the face of this time-honoured concentration of interim managers jobs in London.

You’d surmise a drop of 15% in the single largest concentration of the niche would bring the annual and national figure down accordingly.

However, growth in other areas more than made up the deficit in the capital and surrounds, albeit slightly.

In Scotland, placements for interim management contractors grew by a huge 33%, ensuring that on a rolling twelve month basis contractor management engagements were up 2% and 1% up on the previous month, February 2013.

Trend set to continue in April, but there’s another twist in this tail

Not only has the physical location of growth turned on its head, but also the sector in which contractors are required – or perhaps are prepared – to work has changed.

With IR35 inspectors watching third party employment by agencies, umbrella companies and organisations created to facilitate off-payroll public sector contractors, the private sector is now where interim managers are headed to seek gainful employment without having HMRC breathing down their necks.

It’s perhaps understandable, then, that contractors and freelancers are shying away in their droves from the public sector.

By way of an example, at the end of 2011 there was little to choose between public and private sector when it came down to where contractors earned their crust. 46% plied their trade in the public sector, 54% choosing the public sector.

Gap between private and public sector contractors is now a gulf

Move the clock on 12 months and the private sector accounted for 72% of all interim management contracts, with a miserly 28% of off-payroll temporary managers finding engagement in the public sector.

Until IR35 teams relax the pressure on both public services and the contractors who would otherwise find gainful employ there, the growth in the private sector also seems like a trend that’s going to take some bucking.

So if you’re an interim manager with a penchant for engineering and don’t mind relocating to Scotland, you could be feathering your nest with heather and spruce for some time to come, yet.

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