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The Importance of Interim Recruitment in a Skills Short Market

Business in STEM is changing fast. 46% of CEOs this year are re-evaluating their market presence and considering new markets, and 41% are diversifying their current products and service offerings.  

Investing in interim talent at business turn-points can equip leaders with the skills, knowledge and  agility required to power business continuity, deliver essential projects and accelerate the success of long-term objectives.

62% of executives think that freelance and contract workers will significantly replace the permanent workforce over the next five years. In STEM specifically, 33% of organisations only search for contract workers when growing their teams. 

However, talent scarcity in both the permanent and interim markets is continuing to generate a competitive, fast-paced recruitment market where costs can quickly spiral.

In this article, Shen Mawani, Client Solutions Manager at SRG explores some key ways that organisations can leverage and optimise their interim recruitment strategy to suit today’s economic climate.

Read on to find out more about:

  • What interim recruitment is
  • How interim recruitment helps businesses thrive
  • Common interim recruitment challenges and solutions


What is interim recruitment

Interim recruitment is a temporary recruitment model whereby skilled professionals support and contribute to projects or fill temporary skills gaps while a permanent hire is made.

Interim contracts can look different depending on the scope of projects and the length of time interim support is needed for .  
Interim workers are highly skilled and experienced at adapting quickly to new business environments, making them a valuable asset when business models are changing.  

While some interim workers can contribute specialist skills sets through managed service programmes, others work in interim management, where they help bridge employment gaps in leadership and strategically align team efforts across the organisation to preserve continuity through times of disruption.

How interim recruitment helps businesses thrive

Interim workers play a valuable role in STEM organisations, where project timelines can be business critical and specialist skills are hard to come by.

While job-to-job moves are generally high in the permanent market, in the life science industry scientists are often tied to projects from conception through to completion, meaning that a substantial portion of the talent market is inaccessible for long periods of time.  

Interim workers play a valuable role in this business environment by equipping organisations with the resources and skills they require to drive business success, regardless of talent shortages.

Some key benefits of interim recruitment include:

1. Limiting burnout and driving engagement

Interim workers can drive engagement and motivation in teams where skills or personnel shortages demand higher workload. By bringing in an interim worker, organisations can alleviate pressure from teams, enabling them to preserve their day-to-day role without the risk of burnout and remain supported through a period of change.

2. Helping workforces thrive not survive

When resources are short, projects can quickly go into survival mode, where more efficiencies are made at the cost of the original proposal. Interim workers can help protect organisational integrity by streamlining and strengthening the existing workforce, guiding the project through to its original brief while preserving governance and compliance.

3. Quickly gaining project momentum

Making permanent hires in specialist areas often requires new recruits to take time to assimilate in their new position and team, attending meetings and other peripheral activities. Interim workers are agile and experienced in seamlessly integrating within new business environments once training is complete, helping to preserve project momentum.

Common interim recruitment challenges and solutions

Over the course of both COVID-19, and post-IR35, over half of the interim workforce moved over to permanent roles. This transition has driven a scarcity in specialist interim workers, meaning that the market is far more competitive and expensive than ever before. 

Engaging with an agency with an established network can help circumvent challenges. An experienced talent consultant will  manage expectations of contractors and have access to current market rates. This helps to ensure that the candidate themselves is not pricing themselves out of the market, and costs for businesses do not spiral. 

At SRG, we support our clients with considered, inclusive and cost-effective interim recruitment solutions. Working with a global client in biopharma, SRG developed a tailored managed service programme to improve diversity, implement cost saving initiatives with process and payment efficiencies and improve supply chain management and engagement. Over the course of 12 weeks, we helped our client cut annual costs by £430k, delivered a 100% fill rate for contractors and complete timesheet, payroll and invoicing accuracy.

Working with multiple recruiters for interim talent creates a candidate experience that is rife with duplication. As the interim market is candidate short, using an array of recruitment services will result in your business being pitched to the same people in multiple ways. This is a problem which can not only confuse candidates and damage business reputation but delay timelines overall, as hiring managers will receive duplicated CVs, interview requests and strategic recommendations.

I advise businesses to keep things simple, and short. The interim market is fast paced, so a three or four stage interview process will severely reduce your candidate pool, as other businesses will likely hire the best candidates first. Utilising a shorter 1 or 2 stage process is essential to optimise access to interim talent. Working with a single, reliable recruitment organisation will enable you to offer your candidates a higher-quality experience, while speeding up the overall time to hire. Our Search by SRG team supported our client in Biotech with interim executive support within 3 weeks, before finding a permanent hire. SRG’s swift, and streamlined approach to this project illustrates the power behind working with a trusted recruitment partner. 

Looking for interim recruitment support?

SRG provide interim staffing recruitment support across the full breadth of roles in STEM, from statement of work projects for laboratory staff, through to executive hires in the C-Suite on a global basis. 

Our expert consultants provide thorough IR35 guidance, helping you to optimise and align your recruitment strategy.

Click here to get in touch

About the author: Shen Mawani is a highly successful, award-winning, solutions-orientated, global life sciences recruiter who is now part of a unique team for a global leader in Scientific and Clinical hiring. Shen supports the STEM Portfolio as a Client Solutions Manager at the Impellam Group. Shen dissolves the borders between brands including SRG, Lorien and Carbon60, to ensure the best talent is secured and retained, using data intelligence combined with a flexible and transparent process. Shen partners with businesses across STEM to offer solutions suited to their needs, for niche roles, senior appointments and, delivery on project builds. Click here to connect with Shen on Linkedin 


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