Interims help UK manufacturers shrug off market uncertainty

Posted on 30 Nov 2016 by The Manufacturer

British manufacturers are boosting their ranks of project leaders as confidence buoys the sector and growth ambitions, according to interim management provider, Odgers Interim.

The announcement comes after Odgers Interim recorded a 27% increase in year-on-year placements for board-level interim positions in the UK manufacturing sector as appetite returns to invest in growth projects and change management programmes.

Odgers Interim points to positive trading conditions, including lower input costs, access to capital, and sterling devaluation, as a key driver in demand for external management team support.

Interim managers are experienced executives who support the undertaking of major business change programmes, such as breaking into new export markets, leading business transformation and improvement projects, and M&A integration activity.

Head of manufacturing at Odgers Interim, Tom Legard explained: “Even before the EU Referendum and positive rebound in economic data and sentiment surveys, British manufacturers have been quietly confident in their growth prospects and have been hunting down quality candidates – from inside and outside of the sector – to add firepower to their growth projects.

“As the economy digests the impact of Brexit, it is no secret that the economic fallout from the vote has been a shot in the arm for British industry – at least in the short term – as currency fluctuations fall in its favour. Small and mid-sized manufacturers, which have seen order books swell in recent months, are now investing in talent to make sure that they can fully capitalise on current market conditions.

Legard continued: “While interim manager appointments are only part of the overall recruitment picture, they do reveal the ambitions of leadership teams in the sector as they look for external support in delivering growth strategies. Businesses will face increasingly stiff competition for the top talent.

“But, British industry is not getting carried away. The businesses we speak to are pragmatic about their future, despite the investment in interims. It is also the case that not all manufacturers will have benefited in recent months, notably larger, multinational industrial firms and those in the commodities sector. And, of course, the jury is still out over what the long-term impact of the EU Referendum will be and what the future holds for sterling and trade negotiations.”