Brexit: Bringing Unexpected Upsides to Interim Managers

by | 14 Mar 2024 | Insights

It’s not too controversial to suggest that the economic benefits of leaving the EU have not yet been fully realised in the UK. The UK economy is struggling when compared to its former European partners, and real GDP has underperformed similar nations by 5% since 2016.

However, one area of the UK economy is enjoying growth as a result of Brexit, and other headwinds businesses face here. Interim Managers are in high demand.

For those with a good understanding of Interim Management, this isn’t going to be a total surprise. While not totally counter-cyclical, Interim Managers are often deployed where there is a problem to solve and where a business requires new ideas, energy and hands on management to drive improved performance. There has been high demand for Supply Chain professionals to deal with increased complexity and border challenges, IT & HR leaders to transition to the new world of work, FM Consultants to help downsize office estates and Restructuring specialists to juggle the bank, HMRC and pension funds.

However, perhaps the biggest upside in demand we at Valtus UK have seen has, as its root, a different aspect of Brexit – the ending of freedom of movement.

Large companies have always used international postings as a way of broadening the skills of their higher performing leaders, as well as fixing issues in their overseas subsidiaries. UK businesses typically send executives to the US or Asia-Pac, reflecting our ‘monoglots and proud of it’ culture. However, for European multinationals, the UK has been the preferred location for an overseas secondment because of the competitive nature of markets, close geographical proximity, and infinitely superior football!

It would be incorrect to say that ending freedom of movement prevents European secondments to the UK, but it does make them more complicated and significantly slower. Hence, planned transfers where time isn’t of the essence are still on the agenda. However, many secondments historically came in very differing circumstances; either the loss of a key person, an underperforming business unit or both. Solving these problems is inevitably time sensitive and waiting 6-9 months for a work permit to be granted (if it is at all) just will not wash. Unless the business can conjure up a UK or Irish passport holder in short order, the only other option is to look to an Interim Manager to solve the problem.

Many of our international clients have drawn on this resource for the first time in the past few months, with extremely positive results. As well as being able to draw down on specialists skills at speed, they have often found the outcomes achieved better than they would expect from a seconded member of the team. Interim Managers are strong at driving enduring change through organisations and leaving a positive legacy on the team.

Good for international business and good for the UK Interim Management community which serves it.