This week, I have had three concrete job opportunities presented to me. The trend here in Brussels is that nearly all large companies are having difficulties trying to find high quality, experienced Interim Managers.

I suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise, especially if you follow the trends of the IT industry as a whole. Peak followed by trough, followed by another peak etc. But this time it feels different. If we are at a peak then where are the corresponding high day rates? In Brussels there seems to be a hidden consortium on pricing (perhaps instigated by the banks who are key commissioners of interim managers here)? This time around the prices seem to be remaining stable, and below 2004 rates.

On Tuesday I had a phone call from a leading agency that are looking for five interim managers, two of which need to be very experienced and posses the ability to challenge business strategy and implementation plans at all levels. The agency wanted me for my tough track record, especially with regards my ability to change mind sets and not to let company blockers stand in the way of progress.

I would be allocated a team of project managers who in turn would manage the communications, ICT, technology, business processes and other teams. But (and here comes the ‘but’) the day rate on offer was 800Euro (1089USD or 546GBP) per day (including the 20% cut they wanted to take)! Not exactly an exciting teaser away from my existing assignment…

For me the challenge is not really about money, its about what I fancy doing at any one time and what other things I have going on in my life that might affect my desire to travel, or not to be on call 24/7.

The concern for me about the rate is three fold:
1. If the Interim Manager's market is supposedly peaking, and if the market really is short of highly skilled Interim Managers, then how come day rates are not rising fast?
2. If this is the rate on the high side of the peak, there a risk that it will drop on the way down. Will all of us experienced IM’s be working for 500Euro per day in a couple of years from now?
3. Is the fee high enough to attract juniors to the profession, especially when you consider that this is the top end (excluding stand in CEO’s etc)? Juniors are being offered rates half of that offered to me and if they have to give up their fixed incomes, then the benefits start to fade away.

Obviously, I decided to stay put. I don’t like to leave any assignment until it is finished and I am not one to always compare with others. But for now I might not even bother picking up the phone next time I am interrupted with ‘a great new opportunity’!