Interim Management market in Switzerland

Around 4,000 people work as Interim Managers in Switzerland, with around 1,000 of them working as "full professionals" and fully committed to this type of activity. The average age is around 50. Annual turnover in the Swiss market is estimated at around CHF 600 million.

The economy has changed significantly in recent years, meaning that Interim Managers are playing an increasingly important role. In the course of digitalisation, more and more flexible organisational and working structures are becoming established. Thanks to these structures, companies can react more quickly to complex challenges and manage them effectively. This is forcing companies to utilise specialist knowledge and management skills in a wide range of areas more effectively, efficiently and quickly. And this is precisely where the right Interim Manager can provide very valuable services. It can be assumed that this market will continue to grow significantly.

The Umbrella organisation of Swiss Interim Managers defines Interim Management as follows: Interim Management is leadership, i.e. you are responsible for the results of the projects that you manage and implement on a temporary basis. These projects are limited in time until the "problem" has been solved or, for example, a strategic business unit has been relaunched. The Interim Manager's primary interest is not the follow-up order, but to complete the project as successfully as possible. Interim Management also differs from the traditional consulting business in that the "concepts" are actually implemented in order to ensure that the objectives are achieved.

Interim Managers are experienced personalities who are happy to take on responsibility in order to achieve positive changes in organisations in the interests of the client. Due to the intensive work assignments during projects, you need to be physically healthy, flexible in terms of geography and location, readily available and have a strong inner drive to make a difference and get things done. Generally speaking, Interim Managers should have strong and proven skills in the areas of leadership, change management, communication and project management. In addition, they should have at least 15 years of professional experience and 7 years of management experience, have undergone appropriate training and further education, demonstrate strong interpersonal skills, be goal- and results-orientated and, depending on the situation, be able to act as a specialist or generalist as well as a lone fighter or team player - a demanding mix of skills.

The majority of assignments last between 6 and 24 months, with every third assignment being extended. In terms of function, project or process managers are most frequently required, followed by CEOs and technical specialists. Most Interim Managers work at management level as well as at project, department and division management level. Most interim assignments are awarded by the executive board and the board of directors. It is also possible to acquire corresponding assignments via selected interim providers (e.g. Brainforce, Top 50, GroNova, Acuenta), which are also positioned differently in the market and charge fees for successful placements. The assignments can arise in practically all sectors, whereby demand is greatest in the industrial sector in the broadest sense. Interim Managers are hired at approx. 2/3 in companies with 250 or more employees and large companies. The main reasons why temporary managers are deployed are as follows: Change management, replacing a manager who is no longer available, cost-cutting programmes, turnarounds/restructuring and projects in the areas of innovation and corporate development.

According to the umbrella organisation DSIM, the following challenges need to be considered:

  • Balance between workload and acquisition as well as flexibility and private life
  • Interim Management is not yet established everywhere in Switzerland (approx. 55% of companies use Interim Managers)
  • Dealing with the client's wishful thinking in relation to reality and the commercial and technical possibilities
  • Visible costs of the Interim Manager can be a deterrent at the beginning (daily salary averages CHF 1750 depending on the type of assignment and depends on the industry, function and duration of the assignment)
  • Performance and impact must be demonstrated quickly with practically no familiarisation period
  • Pick up employees where they currently stand (patience with staff vs. being able to initiate rapid changes)

Interim Management is basically a very exciting option for experienced managers over 50, which is also becoming increasingly popular (more on this in this TV programme by the business magazine ECO on Swiss television). However, many professionals do not even have this option on their radar after resigning or deliberately changing jobs and know even less about how to obtain such assignments. Anyone considering such assignments should start by taking a close look at themselves and their professional, social and methodological skills as part of a comprehensive assessment. This is the only way to determine whether and where exactly an assignment as an Interim Manager is possible. You also need a well thought-out image and a clear and differentiated positioning so that you are recognised by potential clients and receive assignments. With the right personal marketing strategy, you can certainly succeed in acquiring suitable assignments within a reasonable period of time and thus gain a foothold as an Interim Manager.