Diane Morris is director of Interim Women, a business network for women in interim management, set up by Russam GMS. Here she discusses its latest research that indicates many women interims don’t have a pension and are failing to prepare financially for their future.
Many women opt for a career in interim management because it can offer a more flexible and diverse way of working. However, it is not without its risks and it’s often a more uncertain way of working than the world of employment, which can make managing and planning finances challenging.
Research we carried out recently amongst almost 1000 female interim managers found that a quarter don’t have a private pension and 60% aren’t considering getting one in the next 12 months. Not necessarily unusual until you realise that most of the women questioned were over 40 (89% 41-60 years old).
Over half (54%) also told us they haven’t sought any financial planning advice since starting to work as an interim or freelancer, yet many are worrying about their finances and are making cut backs such as curbing their spending or not taking holidays.
Despite being high earners with 62% earning over £80K a year, almost half are worried about their finances and not saving enough for retirement, with a third claiming they worry about their financial future every day. The main financial challenge they face is the uncertainty about where their next assignment or client will come from.
This failure to get to grips with their finances and not make any provisions for the nature of their work – such as preparing financially for the lean times or the gaps between assignments is becoming a trend as the interim market grows. Many women are living day to day and don’t know where they will be in five years’ time, which makes it imperative they plan for the future.
This is even more prudent since our research indicated that just under half hoped to retire by the age of 65. Interestingly though it seems women are not seeing pensions as a way of securing funding for their retirement. A quarter don’t have a pension; a quarter are not aware of how much the state pension is and only half of those questioned are aware of radical new reforms to state pensions that will propose a fairer system for women.
Additionally, the recession has impacted the financial fortunes of interims with 55% claiming to have comprised their daily rate during the downturn and half saying they have found it difficult to find work or that there have been longer gaps between assignments.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Despite the worries and challenges it appears that many women enjoy this way of working with just over 40% saying they expected to still be working as an interim in five years’ time and only 11% are seeing interim management as a way into full time employment and hoping they would be in a full time position within five years.
Interim management continues to be a popular choice for women. Our research found that one in five women said they had been busier than ever during the last few years as more companies want to hire people on an interim for their specialist skills or to undertake strategic business projects. This is a sign of the times and indicates businesses are increasingly seeing the value and cost-effectiveness of hiring interims.