Traditionally considered a lucrative refuge for older, mostly male executives, interim management is in fact fast becoming the career of choice for female executives, according to a new study.
The research by interim firm Boyden Interim Management has found that in the 25 to 39 age group, the percentage of women going into interim management was four and a half times larger than men of the same age group.
Female interims seem to find it easy to find regular assignments, with 30 per cent more women in work for more than 170 days per annum than their male counterparts.
They also enjoyed greater equality of pay than was typically found in the mainstream workplace, with very little variation in hourly rates between the sexes.
Nick Robeson, chief executive of Boyden Interim Management, said: "The survey shows that the benefits of interim management seem to be very attractive to women. The flexibility and equality of pay add to the attraction of a stimulating and varied career in which executives have a direct impact upon the value of a business."
Asked about barriers to success, almost half of the respondents cited internal politics as their major gripe, followed by the setting of unrealistic goals or timeframes by the companies that employed them.
Interims seemed to adapt to these weaknesses by redefining the briefs on arrival. In fact, the survey revealed that 57 per cent always or often redefined a brief, with just 5 per cent saying they never did so.
Interims, the survey calculated, boosted the UK economy by £6 billion, with more than half of those polled classing their most recent role as transformational, or working to bring about a major change or turnaround within a company.
Just 16 per cent classified their role as "cover" for an existing role.
More than a third of those whose role was transformational unlocked between £1 million and £5 million and 20 per cent unlocked more than £5 million for the company in which they most recently worked.
The average assignment cost to a business is £120,000, it added.