Recruiters and associated HR services placed over 1.1 million people into permanent jobs in 2017/18, and were responsible for placing more than 1 million agency workers on any given day, according to new data published today by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).

The REC’s annual Recruitment Industry Trends report for 2017/18 showed that the total industry turnover from permanent and temporary/contract placements, and other HR services, reached £35.7 billion, an increase of 11 per cent on last year. £30.85 billion was generated through temporary/contract placement activity, and approximately £4.84 billion through permanent placements.

The number of businesses operating in the UK recruitment industry grew by almost 10 per cent in the year to March 2018, totalling 30,430, and the industry employed approximately 115,000 people – enough to fill all the seats and the pitch at Wembley Stadium.

Other figures from the 2017/18 report include:

  • Almost two thirds (64 per cent) of temporary assignments were for 12+ weeks, while one in five (20 per cent) were for 6+ months (compared to 61 per cent and 20 per cent respectively in 2016/17)
  • 85 per cent of contract placements were for 12+ weeks, and 45 per cent of contract workers were on assignment for 6+ months (compared to 80 per cent and 44 per cent respectively in 2016/17)
  • The average value of permanent placements from the wider recruitment industry was £4,238 (up by 6.4 per cent on the average in 2016/17)
  • The average annualised turnover of each temporary/contract worker on assignment was £34,976 (up 20 per cent on the average in 2016/17)

Recruitment Industry Trends 2017/18 also includes the REC’s forecast for the next three years, which remains positive despite the unknowns in the political landscape. The REC forecasts that the UK’s recruitment industry will grow by 4 per cent in 2018/19, 4.5 per cent in 2019/20 and 5 per cent in 2020/21.

Commenting on the report, REC chief executive Neil Carberry said:

“It has been an extraordinary year for recruitment and recruiters. Tight labour markets and quickly shifting skills needs have driven the growth of the industry – but only because recruiters have adapted swiftly to changing times. We see this increased value for clients reflected in our monthly survey feedback – recruitment is a key part of the UK’s world-leading professional services sector. We should celebrate an industry which boosts the economy and transforms candidates’ lives every single day.

“The path ahead is uncertain – Brexit, immigration reform, tax changes, technology. But this report shows that recruiters can look at that uncertainty and see the opportunities. Whatever the coming months and years bring, recruiters will continue to use their skills and knowledge to boost the UK’s labour market and find people their perfect job.”

Simon Adcock, Head of Professional Services for HSBC UK, which supports recruitment businesses of all types and sizes, added:

“Despite current uncertainty, the recruitment industry’s focus on quality of service and its enthusiasm for technological innovation has seen it continue to flourish, boosting the wider UK economy. In a world where the way we work is becoming ever more flexible, the role of the recruiter in connecting people to opportunities and employers to people has never been as important. That’s why we remain firmly committed to firms in this vital part of the professional services sector.”

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Market-wide estimates for this annual industry snapshot have been calculated by the REC using data drawn from the survey of members conducted by ComRes, data from the ONS Inter-Departmental Business Register as well as historical data from IHS Markit. ComRes interviewed 179 recruitment businesses online between 17 July and 8 October 2018. Data was weighted by size and region to be representative of all recruitment agencies in the UK.

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Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

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