Opinion: Grant Speed

31 July 2017

Interims and modern working practices

The much anticipated Taylor Review was published earlier this month and provided its recommendations to Government in responding to the rapid evolution of working practices. While the tech platforms and the expansion of the gig-economy are new trends, there has long been demand for flexible working from both workers and businesses.

Ever since its emergence in Europe in the late 1970s and early 1980s in response to strict labour legislation, interim managers have grown to become a fundamental part of senior leadership teams. Their original role was to provide gap management to stretched board rooms, but they have evolved to offer strategic guidance in periods of crisis, change and major projects.

Of course, the focus of the Taylor Review is on a different part of the market and, clearly, there are issues that must be addressed to bring fairness and choice to this area of employment.

However, it does tap into a broader movement in society towards flexible working and offers recognition of changing attitudes towards it. Businesses want to be able to upskill and build in resource when they need it, while some people are looking for more casual working relationships and control over their careers.

Beyond this, the Review has highlighted a fundamental challenge to the future of the labour market. While working trends have changed quickly, employment law and taxation have not necessarily kept up or in step with each other.

Yet, before drastic changes are made, the dialogue between Government and business must continue and can’t stop now that this Review has been published. As we have seen with the Off-payroll working in the public sector legislation and the confusion and impact it has had so far, more discussion and consultation is needed and should not be ignored.

Without which, the picture for workers and employers will only become more opaque and hinder the agility of the UK’s labour market and its ability to drive economic growth.

Grant Speed is Managing Director of Odgers Interim


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