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Promising future for interim operations managers

Interim management assignments have become an essential tool in the operations landscape, ranging from bridging talent shortages in high-level positions to strategic optimisation projects. What career opportunities do post-covid investments, digital transformation and decarbonisation bring for interim operations managers?

Marguerite Taillieu and Amaury Vanhoutteghem, principal and senior consultant respectively at international recruitment agency Robert Walters, share their opinion on the matter.

What type of interim assignments are we seeing within operations today? 

"For high-level permanent roles within operations, there is currently a huge lack of talent," Amaury explains, "which is why companies seek an effective solution by hiring an interim manager for positions such as Operations Director, Site Manager, Maintenance Manager or Supply Chain Director, in order to bridge the period during which a permanent employee is sought."

"Moreover, we find that many companies are looking to increase their productivity as a result of greater pressure on their margins; therefore, assignments in continuous improvement, lean management and industrial optimisation are on the rise," Marguerite adds.

Which companies turn to an interim manager in operations? 

Marguerite: "We find that in scale-up environments there is a need for senior expertise to support middle management. These are fast-growing organisations, both SMEs and Belgian branches of international companies, which are about to expand their activities or get ready for further growth. They mainly need to work on streamlining their processes and establishing a solid organisational structure.”

"On the other hand, interim managers also bring great added value to organisations experiencing a crisis," Amaury says. "They are greatly appreciated because, as a neutral, external party, they look at the situation objectively and offer innovative solutions thanks to their wide experience."

What is the typical duration of interim operations assignments? 

"On average, interim assignments within operations last 6 to 10 months," says Marguerite. "For large transformations and change assignments with a broad scope, the duration can easily reach 1 to 2 years. For interim management assignments intended to bridge the search for a permanent employee, we see an average duration of 4 to 6 months, depending on the role and the complexity of the search. 

Which professionals make the leap into interim management? 

"Many senior candidates with sufficient leadership and operational experience rightly see interim management as a true career choice and focus on bringing added value to a company in change," says Amaury. "They have led improvement projects in changing environments and want to make full use of their expertise."

"The ideal operations interim manager has high adaptability, thinks out-of-the-box and has accumulated experience in different companies and/or sectors."


What does the future hold for interim managers within operations? 

 Marguerite: "The future for interim operations managers looks promising, with an expected growth in the number of assignments. In a continuously changing socio-economic context, companies are clearly seeking external support to become more agile and safeguard their competitiveness in the market. 

Above all we notice more demand for interim managers who can manage investment projects especially in the sectors such as the food, energy, defense and heavy industry."

"Moreover, organisations will continue to invest in digital transformation to remain competitive with other players in their industry," Amaury explains. "Since such projects have a huge impact on the teams, the structure and the processes in the organisation, an interim change manager can bring real value, especially in terms of internal change communication.  

Finally, the growing focus on 'decarbonisation' will lead to increased demand for interim CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) managers to help organisations adapt to stricter European environmental legislation and targets to reduce their carbon emissions."


Looking for a new challenge?

Discover more about working as an Interim Manager. Curious about which assignments we are currently looking for? Take a look at our interim management vacancies.

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Find out more by contacting one of our specialist recruitment consultants

Contact us

Marguerite Taillieu
Phone: +32 491 96 55 88

Amaury Vanhoutteghem
Senior Consultant
Phone: +32 478 10 04 28

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