Skills shortages rising in HR and finance, with 39% of interims hired to fill gaps : Report

Research conducted by Wade Macdonald, a specialist in finance and HR recruitment, has revealed that the main reason for hiring interim staff within the HR and finance markets is due to skill shortages. The study found that 39% of interims are hired to fill short-term skills gaps left by permanent staff.
Skills shortages rising in HR and finance, with 39% of interims hired to fill gaps : Report

In the face of increasing skills shortages in the HR and finance sectors, businesses are turning to interim workers to fill the gaps. According to research by specialist finance and HR recruitment firm, Wade Macdonald, 39 percent of interims are hired to address short-term skills gaps left by permanent staff.


The firm’s 2024 Interim Market Report, which surveyed over 300 finance and HR professionals across various business sizes and sectors, reveals emerging trends in the gig economy and the valuable contributions interim workers make to the organizations they work with.


The report shows that 67 percent of interim candidates were required to possess a specific skill or experience to fulfill their role requirements. Furthermore, 82 percent of interims are focused on delivery, and 80 percent claim that being ‘results-focused’ is a key skill needed to perform their job effectively.


Other significant reasons for hiring interims include managing changes related to business structure (37 percent), covering for a permanent hire (35 percent), and strengthening a project team (29 percent).


Chris Goulding, Managing Director of Wade Macdonald, comments on the value interim workers bring to employers. He states, “Interim workers offer employers a valuable solution to resolve skills and structural issues in their workforce, whether that be supporting existing teams during tougher periods or engaging in change management work, which can rapidly move an organization forward. The ability to mesh quickly with the team and deliver tangible results are core skills within the interim workforce, and are especially useful when highly skilled employees are in great demand but are hard to come by.”


Gartner’s research suggests that 70 percent of HR practitioners do not believe they have mastered the skills they need for their current roles, with 64 percent of managers deeming their employees unable to keep pace with future skills needs.


In the finance sector, the Financial Services Skills Commission classifies 73 percent of roles as highly skilled, and 16 percent of finance professionals, equivalent to 160,000 workers, require upskilling.


The CIPD also reports that competition for talent increased by 70 percent between 2021/2022, with 60 percent of respondents stating that talent is more difficult to retain than the year prior. With skills gaps a major issue in both the HR and finance sectors, hiring interims can greatly benefit organizations needing to plug the gaps.


Goulding adds, “Being able to temporarily bring someone in who can provide a high-level skill to immediately meet an organization’s needs is a real asset during a skills’ shortage. Our research also shows that interims are hired to support business changes or strengthen existing teams, so working as a highly skilled interim could increase employment opportunities for workers as well as benefit businesses.”


The rise of the interim workforce aligns with recent changes in workplace structure. 20 percent of respondents to Wade Macdonald’s research did not plan to become interim workers, but unexpectedly found themselves taking on temporary work due to redundancy or challenges securing permanent positions.


However, many respondents stated they valued the increased flexibility of interim work, with only seven percent of interim employees required to work in the office every day. The opportunity to work on short-term, impactful projects was also appealing, and interim workers feel able to negotiate higher rates of pay compared to their permanent counterparts.


Goulding concludes, “Workers are increasingly feeling the pressure from the economic challenges of recent years, and mass layoffs have forced many to find alternative sources of work. With flexibility and work-life balance valued so highly after the COVID-19 pandemic, it is no surprise that workers are attracted to interim positions.”


“As both workers and employers can see the benefit of interim work, we are likely to see this workforce continue growing over the coming year.”


In conclusion, the rising demand for interim workers in the HR and finance sectors is a testament to the changing dynamics of the job market. As skill shortages continue to pose challenges, the flexibility and expertise offered by interim workers present a viable solution for businesses navigating these uncertain times.

Stay tuned, to for further updates on the evolving workplace paradigm. 


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