ODGERS INTERIM TEAM PROFILE
Suresh Lal, Consultant in the Public Sector Practice...
What are the main areas you specialise in?
My key area is the social housing sector and it’s something I have focused on for many years before I joined Odgers Interim. Initially, I started off with finance based candidates but I now work with senior interims across all disciplines in the sector.
What kinds of clients do you work with and where are they based?
I work with housing associations or ‘registered providers’ right across the UK. They can come in a variety of sizes with bigger groups managing upwards of 60,000 units and smaller local community housing teams which look after only a few hundred properties.
How has the Public Sector market shifted over the past couple of years?
There has definitely been a strong rise in the number of people looking for interim work. Most are the career interims who I have worked with for many years but they are now being joined by a number of new candidates from both permanent roles or those in between roles looking for short term work. Day rates have subsequently lowered in value for more mainstream areas but niche and specialist interims still command high fees. Interims are finding that there is more competition for posts from the higher numbers of candidates on the market, whilst clients remain cautious about bringing in people who have not covered previously covered senior interims roles within the social housing world.
What sort of roles are you seeing most of at the moment?
I’m seeing a wide mix of opportunities, from IT and asset management to finance. There is also a significant increase in change and transformation roles and also in procurement.
And why is that?
Organisations which are merging and restructuring often require additional support so candidates who have completed similar projects will immediately put a client at ease. There is also an emphasis on value for money so procurement and financial projects that aim to reduce costs continue to be in demand.
What's the most interesting role you have dealt with over the past few months?
I recruited a senior IT Interim for one of the bigger registered providers in London. The IT Director was in need of support across a variety of strategic and operational areas and it was interesting to get a full picture of the systems which help drive the client. Without them – and if the IT systems failed - there would be complete chaos so moving the strategy forward correctly is key.
In one line... how do you think you add value to the organisations you work with?
I add value through strong relationships and the knowledge I have of my candidates. This has been formed over a number of years and by placing them multiple times across the sector.
What are your predictions for 12 to 24 months and do you see the market shifting?
I think housing teams will continue to merge and restructure their internal make up to provide better and more efficient organisations for the benefit of their tenants. I feel that smaller housing organisations will need to become more innovative in the way they create revenue and fund their growth, or they will need to be open to merging with likeminded registered providers if they want to survive in the long term. With welfare reforms and tighter government inputs, I am also seeing the formation of more profit making subsidiaries in the development and sales divisions of our housing teams which are driving growth and supporting the core aspects of social tenancy.
Do you have any advice for anyone who maybe looking for interim positions in your sectors?
The social housing world can at times be a closed loop, with clients preferring candidates with a track record of accomplishing projects in social housing. Some areas will always be open to candidates from other sectors, such as IT, maintenance & repairs and finance, but candidates from within the sector will always be at an advantage when clients are looking for Interims.
To learn more about Suresh or his work, please do check out his profile.
Categories: Social Housing