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Recruiters filled 25 million temp and contract roles in a year, according to the latest REC industry report.

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The recruitment and staffing industry filled more temporary, contract and permanent roles in 2022 than the year before, according to the Recruitment & Employment Confederation’s latest Recruitment Industry Status report (RISR).

The RISR report is the REC’s annual survey, drawing on data for the financial year after firms have closed their books on the year. This year’s RISR demonstrates the key role recruitment and staffing firms played in driving the post-pandemic recovery for firms and workers. Temporary, contract and permanent placements were all up on 2021. A staggering 25.7 million temporary and contract placements were made in 2022 (compared to 22.4 million in 2021) and separately 702,950 permanent placements made in 2022 (a significant rise on 540,000 in 2021, as the permanent market took off more slowly after the pandemic).

Overall, the recruitment and staffing sector generated Gross Value Added (GVA) of £41.3bn, which is up by 13.7% on 2021’s estimate in nominal terms. In real terms, accounting for high inflation, the sector’s growth between 2021 and 2022 was a healthy 5.9%. The main constraint on growth in year was shortage of labour and skills post-pandemic – without these shortages, the placement figures we report today could have been even higher.

Neil Carberry, REC Chief Executive, said:

“Today’s report emphasizes again what an important part of the economy recruitment and staffing is. While 2023 has certainly been a slower year, and our forecast reflects that in today’s report, recruiters remain at the heart of driving the UK’s economic success and making a difference to candidates from all backgrounds.”.

“The industry has continued to grow because recruiters have adapted to clients’ demand for flexibility, which is offered by temps and contractors. Recruiters are proving adept at not only filling gaps but also at advising clients on retention strategies, training, and inclusive recruitment practices designed to attract the wide range of talent clients need to grow. Recruiters that are proven partners to clients will prosper in the challenging market and prosper when the economy picks up.

“With just under a quarter of a million people working in UK recruitment and staffing, we should be proud of the difference we make, whether in fair weather like 2022, or more challenging conditions, like 2023. Recruitment is a great career, a chance to make a difference and a key part of the UK’s world-leading professional services sector.”

Other key findings of today’s Recruitment Industry Status Report include:

  • Of the total industry GVA, an estimated 82% was achieved through temporary and contract placement activity in 2022.
  • A total of 238,608 staff were directly employed in recruitment activities in 2022.
  • A slowdown in the volume of clients from 14% growth in 2021 to 3% growth in 2022. This represents the slowing of the post-pandemic recovery trend.

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