Choosing interim management as a career path in China

By Robert Half on 21 December 2020

When searching for your next career, it’s natural to initially think about taking on a full-time or part-time role, but have you stopped to consider the possibilities project consulting could provide you?

This is a relatively new, but extremely exciting career pathway in China. If you’re intrigued about what this could mean for you, read this article to find out more.

Discover what interim management is, what a career as a project consultant could look like, what skills you may need and what the future of interim management could be in China.

What is interim management?

For businesses facing significant changes, a loss of a key team member, or a crisis, experts with a specific set of skills are often needed, to help fill the void, or to turn the business around.

This is where an interim manager or project consultant can help, working within the company for a limited period, whilst providing expertise, managing changes and fulfilling the set objectives.

What does a career in interim management look like?

An interim manager is usually needed for between three months to one year, depending on the project and the complexity of the task. This means that work is constantly changing, making a career in interim management varied and exciting.

It’s important to keep in mind that as you won’t be employed on a permanent contract by the businesses, you won't be entitled to the usual employee perks like paid holidays, pension contributions and ongoing training, but you will be your own boss and you can set your own fees to cover these expenses.

8 key skills you will need to become an interim manager

To become an interim manager or project consultant, you will need to have several technical and soft skills:

  1. Experience – First and foremost, to be hired as an interim manager, you will need to have strong tenure in a sector or specialty.
  2. Adaptability – You may need to be able to start work at a company very quickly, with little notice, so it’s important that you can adapt easily to new situations.
  3. Problem-solving skills – Whether you’ve been brought in to a business to manage a change, or to help during a crisis, you will need to be able to spot issues and come up with solutions.
  4. Drive and perseverance – You will be your own boss, so it’s important that you can easily motivate yourself every day. You may also find yourself working in some quite challenging situations (for example, if a business is facing closure) and therefore it’s important that you’re able to keep going and remain positive.
  5. Be a self-learner – Unlike working as a permanent employee, you won’t receive ongoing training. Industries change rapidly, so you must have a passion for learning, in order to ensure you keep your own skills up-to-date.
  6. Good communication skills – During your time working with a business, you will need to provide your suggestions and findings clearly and precisely.
  7. Hard worker – As an interim manager, it’s important that you do a good job. After all, you will probably rely on recommendations to help generate future work.
  8. Personable – As you will be working with lots of different companies and only for a short amount of time, it’s important that you can get on with people easily, from all different backgrounds and levels of seniority. You also need to be someone that others can feel they trust and can get on well with too.

What does the future of interim management in China look like?

Whilst interim management has been growing considerably in Western countries (particularly in countries such as UK, Germany and Belgium), it is becoming increasingly popular in China. This is for many reasons, for example:

  • Digitisation is causing significant changes in businesses. Experienced interim managers are needed to help manage these changes, to give businesses the best chance of success.
  • Competition is growing in China and companies need to adapt to survive. Interim managers are often utilised to help provide a fresh and unbiased view of what changes need to be made, as well as to implement strategies that can help stay ahead of the curve.
  • An increasing number of businesses are looking to expand globally, or shift operations to China. Local interim managers can provide a level of security, as they have a knowledge of the area and can keep things running smoothly and on track, even whilst the rest of the management team are located elsewhere.

These reasons are not going away any time soon and nor will the need for interim management. This means that there will be a higher demand for interim managers and project consultants in the future.

If you are looking for interim management and project consultancy roles that are right for your career, search jobs via the Robert Half website. Alternatively, submit your resume, or get in touch with your local Robert Half office.

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