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Recruitment survey shows significant drop

Recruitment survey shows significant drop in annual turnover
Turnover in the UKs recruitment industry has fallen by nearly 17 per cent in the past year, according to the 2009 annual industry report launched today (Tuesday November 3) by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) in association with the Recruitment Finance Division of Lloyds TSB Commercial.
The Recruitment Industry Trends Survey shows that contraction of the industry - from a record high of 27 billion last year to a low of 22.491 billion a 16.8 per cent reduction between April 2008 and March 2009.
Most significant of the trends has been in permanent placements which shrunk 39 per cent from 4.275 billion in 2007/08 to 2.608 billion last year. At the same time, the temp business turnover took a tumble from 22.730 billion in 2007/08 to 19.882 this year, a decrease of 12.6 per cent.
Commenting on the results, Kevin Green, the RECs Chief Executive, says:
This significant contraction of the UKs recruitment industry comes as no surprise because it is inextricably linked to the national economy.   However, it has been an opportunity for professional recruiters to clearly demonstrate their true value to their clients.
These figures, while showing the market is smaller, still highlights that there are still opportunities. More than one million temporary workers are still on assignment every week.  This has enabled the UK jobs market to remain more flexible than its international competitors and avoided unemployment being as high as in the USA.
Recent REC surveys have shown there are some positive signs now emerging from the UK labour market. We are committed to ensuring our members help their clients get the talent they need to win and that candidates get the support into their next role.
Paul Saunders, Director of the Recruitment Finance Division of Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance, said:
The survey reflects a challenging period for the sector and confirms the early predictions of reduced demand for both permanent and agency staffing. Recruiters have certainly had to focus on cutting back overheads and managing cash flow very carefully to survive in the competitive conditions.
Despite the protracted recession, our own assessment based on the broad occupational sector profile that we finance is that turnover has stabilised over the last quarter and that demand is starting to pick up again.
For example, in our pay and bill operation, there have been week-on-week uplifts in the number of temporary workers on the pay roll and more clients requesting additional financial support, arising from new end user interest. While there is still the need for caution, this suggests that there is also a growing confidence in the sector.
Permanent recruitment volumes were hardest hit declining nearly 20 per cent (19.8 per cent) over the year from 726,863 to 582,803.
The number of temporary / contract workers declined over the period from 1, 220,310 to 1,068,197 a sharp fall of 12.4 per cent. The shift was felt most acutely by single site agencies which make up the bulk of the industry. 
Also during the year, the number of staff employed in the recruitment sector fell by more than 10 per cent from 108,883 to 95,865.
Bill Haynes elected Chair of new REC Accounting and Financial Services Group
Bill Haynes, Chief Executive Officer of Verridian Plc. has been elected Chair of the Recruitment and Employment Confederations new Accounting and Financial Services group.
Bill has been working closely with the REC in establishing the group and, following an initial steering meeting with other key representatives in accounting and financial services recruitment, is ready to take the group in the right direction.
Bill has held several senior board positions in Financial Services companies including: CEO at Just Retirement Solutions Managing Directorships at Barclays Premier Banking, Britannic Assurance, Sun Life Unit Services and, City Investors and Sales Director at Commercial Union. So for his three year term of office, he brings with him the rare experience of being client, candidate and recruiter in his sector.
The Accounting and Financial Services group is one of several new groups being launched this year and next to ensure the REC has a strong voice in each sector of the recruitment industry.
The groups official launch will be on  December 3 at the Financial Times corporate headquarters at which the REC Accounting and Financial Services sector profile will also be launched. This details the market profile, workforce profile, employer characteristics plus issues and challenges for employers in the accounting and financial services sector.
Speaking on his successful election Bill Haynes said: I believe that the REC has sound principles and aspirations that, when effectively articulated and driven through the accounting and financial services sector, will bring significant benefits to all concerned - candidates, client companies, and our industry as a whole.
This is an interesting challenge in itself and represents an opportunity for me to work with like- minded individuals to improve the position of an organisation and a recruitment industry sector something I will personally enjoy.
EAS inspections provide healthy reminder, says REC
The REC has underlined the industry's commitment to protecting the health and safety of temporary workers following the warnings issued to eleven employment agencies by the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS) over breaches in this area.
Respect for health and safety is one of the key principles in the RECs Code of Practice which is at the heart of the ongoing Serious About Standards campaign. The specific instance highlighted by the EAS concerned advertising for asbestos removal workers without properly checking the health and safety implications.
Commenting on the outcome of the recent EAS inspections, Fola Tayo, the RECs Head of Professional Standards, says:
"The well-being of workers is paramount which is why heath and safety requirements are enshrined in the Industry Code of Practice as well as in statutory legislation. There can be grey areas in terms of respective responsibilities of agencies and end users and in most  cases it is a case of providing additional guidance and support.  At the same time, wilfull and systematic breaches must be dealt with in the interests of law abiding businesses as well as workers.
The vast majority of agencies are doing the right thing but the specific breaches identified by the EAS provide a useful reminder of the need to remain vigilant. Being up to speed with health and safety requirements as well as other legal obligations provides a cast-iron assurance to clients and candidates. Actively promoting the industry's  commitment to safe and ethical recruitment is at the heart of the ongoing Serious About Standards campaign."
Protecting the health and safety of workers in Principle 5 of the REC Code of Practice. The Code is enforced through the REC's Professional Standards Committee which is made up of industry peers as well as representatives from the CBI and the TUC.
The REC is in regular dialogue with the Department for Buisness and the EAS. REC is also represented on the Fair Employment Enforcement Board which was set up to coordinate the efforts of law enforcement agencies. The next phase of the Governments awareness campaign on workers rights is being launched this week.
For more information on the Serious About Standards campaign, visit the website,


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