Agencies face increasing challenge from interim comms managers, research finds

Interim managers are increasingly challenging PR consultancies for project work according to research from Interim Performers, part of recruitment firm VMA Group and freelance consultant network The Counsel House.

Interim Performers: survey
Interim Performers: survey

More than half (54 per cent) of companies polled by the survey said they would consider using an interim manager in place of hiring a traditional PR consultancy on a project basis.

Additionally, 62 per cent of firms said they had used, or were considering using, an interim manager as a way of strengthening their own in-house corporate communications or PR team.

The survey polled a selection senior corporate communications professionals, mainly from FTSE companies, as well as freelance PROs and interim managers.

Companies said that a key driver for bringing in interim support would be to provide temporary cover for leave (64 per cent). But providing support during a crisis (41 per cent), a major PR initiative (50 per cent) or an M&A deal (27 per cent) were also key drivers.

Jules Shelley, a senior consultant at Interim Performers, said: ‘Market sentiment appears to be improving, but we expect corporates and interims to remain flexible in their approach and with regard to rates. The fact that experienced interim communicators are increasingly being sought for project work reflects wider market trends towards cost cutting and the need to use smarter resourcing solutions.'

However, of companies that had previously used freelance PROs, fewer than half (42 per cent) said that they provided a successful solution to their needs.


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