Naturally the first thing about interim work is the fact that it affords you a work/life balance – you can take breaks between projects at your will. The variety it offers a marketer is another plus; you are constantly learning and being challenged, and as a result of this you will not succumb to boredom or frustration. Interim work is also a great way to experience different working environments – useful if you are not sure which way to take your career. It can also provide an alternative route to career progression as interim roles can often be viewed as ‘on-the-job’
The downside of successive interim roles is that employers are often wary of taking on people who have moved around regularly as they feel they may struggle with a longer term commitment. Another issue flagged up by marketers working in interim roles is a slight sense of alienation – they do not feel fully involved or integrated into the company or its culture.
Interim work can provide valuable experience and also potentially act as a stepping stone or catalyst to career development, but ‘serial’ contractors are likely to be labelled as just that and may struggle if trying to find a permanent role.
What attributes do you need?
Flexibility, adaptability, tenacity, diplomacy and a solid work ethic. Obviously stepping into a different environment and having to ‘hit the ground running’, interims need to be able to adapt quickly to the ethos and culture of the company. Often it is hard to fit into the team so the ability to knuckle down is essential; politics exist in every workplace and it is important to avoid these and focus on the task at hand.
Do interims gain or lose in a recession?
As belts tighten, individual departments are often given limits on permanent head count, so interim contracts can come into play more often in tough times. Accordingly, if you are happy to look at interim roles, then there are more opportunities out there. Furthermore, you can walk into the recession starting an interim role, but then as things perk up economically your role may be made permanent. On the flip-side, companies are going to think twice about letting a successful and diligent permanent worker go, which means continuity of employment for the employee, but those looking at interim roles may spend an increasing amount of time between projects.
Is there much interim work around?
We are seeing a lot more companies taking people on with six or nine month contracts rather than permanent roles. There is still a lot of uncertainty around concerning the economy, so this gives employers more flexibility as they can always extend or renew the contract if things are going well and the incumbent is impressing, but they do not have the increased commitment of a permanent employee – it is something that has been going on in France for years to circumvent the stiffer employment law existing over there.
Some companies are taking a positive or aggressive approach to the pending recession and are trying to revitalize brands or maximise marketing to try and increase market share. This means we are seeing a lot of mid-length projects to assist in this activity.
Is interim work the best way to gain flexibility as a marketer?
In short, interim roles do provide exposure to more environments, yet working in the same environment for a longer period of time (i.e. a permanent role) may expose you to more scenarios within that specific environment. It really is a case of horses for courses; for example, some of our client-side clients prefer people who have a bit of agency experience as they believe this provides variety and requires flexibility, whereas other clients do not value agency experience in the same way: there is no hard and fast rule.
To view a variety of marketing jobs on both an interim and permanent basis, and with companies based in towns such as Milton Keynes, St. Albans, Cambridge, Luton and Peterborough, please go to http://www.brandrecruitment.co.uk
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Brand are the only specialist PR and Marketing recruitment agency in the Eastern Region. With the widest variety of marketing jobs in the area, we work with clients ranging from boutique marketing agencies to global FMCG giants.