The Future of Interim Management
Since the new off-payroll working rules came into effect on 6th April, many people have asked me what this means for the future of interim management. To answer the question, I think it’s worth looking to the workplace of the future and the future of flexible workforces more generally. The pace of change in today’s workplace is rapid. Technology is reshaping our offices and our jobs every day and enabling greater flexibility in the way we work. At the same time, attitudes to work are changing and the new generation entering the workplace, Millennials, are about to push the boundaries of current workplaces and traditional career thinking even further.
Freelance endeavours in whatever form are becoming more and more respected as a career path and this change is matched by public attitudes towards the benefit of greater flexibility in our careers. A report back in 2011 by the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Freelance Sector showed that 78% of the UK public think that freelancing and flexible working help promote a good work/life balance and 72% think they have a positive effect on family life. Furthermore, two-thirds of the public believe freelancing and flexible working have a positive effect on individual wellbeing.
Research conducted by Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that over 14 million workers – nearly half of people in employment in the UK - want to work flexibly to fit with modern life. What an incredible statistic that is!
With weight of public opinion this strong, progress towards a more flexible British workforce is unlikely to be halted by any legislation for long.
What’s more, this also fits with the impact that technology - particularly automation and robotics - will have on workforces. Technology will free us from the most mundane and routine activities in the workplace and is already allowing us to run our working lives from cafés, trains, airports, libraries, wherever we want. In this future workplace, most commentators agree that the outlook is brightest for those in highly skilled or knowledge based roles. Those roles that demand significant experience and a high level of expertise.
Coupled with this societal shift towards greater flexibility in our careers, interim managers who have the potential to sell their expertise “as a service” are bound to thrive in this future workplace.
Of course, there are going to be some short-term disruptions. And, the inadequate way this legislation is being brought in has exacerbated the likelihood of this. I feel for those interim managers and independent consultants providing knowledge and capability as a service, who are in business on their own account and are adversely affected by this. Your services however, will still be in demand and the market will resettle. It will reach a new level and things will move on.
David Weir, April 2017
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