The Current Economic Landscape: Challenges and Opportunities for Businesses

This article from WIL Group - Worldwide Interim Leadership member TIM Management, explores the current economic landscape, challenges, and the pivotal role of Interim Management in navigating these complexities.

The Current Economic Landscape: Challenges and Opportunities for Businesses

The economic environment today is increasingly uncertain and challenging, heavily influenced by external factors that are beyond the control of businesses and entrepreneurs. These factors are often unpredictable in their development, forcing companies to be more responsive to changes, swiftly reorienting objectives and strategies to minimise economic impact.

Organisations must be agile, responding promptly to changes without sacrificing performance or goals. Many traditionally solid and well-structured organisations struggle to devise effective strategies and plans in the face of inadequate management profiles or a lack of necessary skills and experience to manage change successfully.

The Role of Interim Management

Interim Management offers an optimal solution to these challenges and the internal skills gap. Interim Managers provide flexible, high-calibre managerial expertise on a fixed-term consultancy basis. Hiring temporary managers offers tangible benefits such as their immediate availability, high qualifications, and extensive experience. These professionals also support training and development for existing managerial staff during critical phases of change.

Interim Management: Key Data and Insights

According to annual research by INIMA, the international network of Interim Manager associations, there is a notable comparison between Italy and other European countries. As of January 2023, 86% of Italian Interim Managers were active in roles—the highest percentage in Europe, where the average is 73%. This could be considered a structural characteristic; the research indicates that 62% of these Italian Interim Managers are employed on a part-time basis, significantly higher than the European average of 26% and more than countries like Germany (19%) and France (8%). This figure has grown from 40% to 62% within a year, driven by the rise in fractional interim management, largely attributable to the structure of Italian businesses, predominantly composed of SMEs smaller than those in other major European countries. In Italy, 58% of Interim Managers work in companies with fewer than 100 employees, compared to 28% on average in Europe, 11% in Germany, and 18% in France.

The demographic profile of Italian Interim Managers closely matches the European standard, with an average age of 57. However, there are still few women in these roles, with only 8% in Italy compared to 11% in Europe. Notably, there has been a decrease in general management and C-Level roles, which, despite remaining the most common for Interim Managers, dropped from 75% in 2020 to 55% in 2022 in Italy, compared to 59% in Europe. This decline has been offset by an increase in Project Management assignments, rising from 13% to 20%, indicating a shift towards less senior roles in Italy.

Interim Managers in Italy and Europe primarily engage in change management, process optimisation, and general management roles. The most common job profile remains at the C-Level, especially CFOs and COOs, followed by CEOs and General Managers.

The primary channel for finding and recruiting European Interim Managers is still the personal network of the entrepreneur or their advisors, but the notable growth of Interim Management companies, now accounting for 32% of placements, up from 20% in 2021, should not be overlooked.

Looking Ahead

The use of Interim Managers in Europe has seen sustained growth over several quarters. Reports by KPMG and REC published in the UK indicate a consolidated trend towards hiring interim managers at the expense of permanent roles. The managerial job market increasingly leads companies to consider the benefits of engaging temporary, highly experienced talent.

In Italy, while the use of Interim Management is growing, awareness and familiarity with this approach are less developed compared to other European countries. TIM Management, offering expert managerial resources for temporary assignments since 1987, has updated its 'Guide to Interim Management'. This guide is a valuable resource for entrepreneurs and companies to learn about the benefits of Interim Management and when it is appropriate to consider this solution for corporate organisations.

Domenico Costa, President and co-founder of TIM Management, has led numerous corporate restructuring efforts and has served as an advisor to funds and CEO of significant industrial companies, managing acquisitions across various industrial sectors.



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