Opinion

Interim opportunities abound for IT directors



John Riley

Groundswell

Opportunities galore currently exist for business-focused IT directors interested in doubling their salaries. Of course, there's a catch - it involves taking on a senior interim management position for six months or so at a time. There is a particular shortage of interim chief technology officers who can understand both technology and business and who think business-benefit.

Some interim jobs are fairly traditional, such as running change-management programmes. But the biggest opportunities are in dotcom start-ups. You have to cope with dramatic culture change when joining a band of as few as 10 people. The thrill is scaling up fast. Reasons for going interim are varied. One IT director appointed as e-business director is hiring an interim replacement so he has a route back if things don't work out.

Interim management requires some grey hair. Career interim IT manager Colin Beveridge told a recent 500 Club meeting that the three main reasons for interim work are gap management, change management, to act as a change agent and turnaround, where the interim deepens the gene pool.

He advises would-be interims to look carefully at the overall benefits - your pricing is below that of the consultancy market but above contractors, engage properly and, above all, plan your exit from day one. Being plugged in for the short term it is important for interims to be over-qualified for the jobs they're doing, and interpersonal skills and personality is key.

What's the payback? Headhunter Chris Hindle of CalibreOne.com says the traditional formula is to double your permanent salary and divide by 220 days. So £100,000 converts to £900 a day. But now, to compensate for the new IR35 tax law, he recommends dividing by 200 instead.

Think about it - is there such thing as a permanent job anyway? The consistent 30% annual turnover of top IT directors means we are, in a sense, all interim anyway.

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This was first published in May 2000

 

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