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UK’s £32.2 billion recruitment industry helped millions of people find work in 2016/17, says REC

Recruiters helped almost a million people find a new permanent job in 2016/17 and on any given day are responsible for 1.3 million agency workers in the UK labour market, says new data from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) published today.

Total revenue from permanent and temporary placements reached £32.2 billion for an industry that continues to employ over 100,000 people itself. £28.2 billion was generated from temporary placements while approximately £4.0 billion was generated through permanent placements.

Other headline statistics from the 2016/17 report include:

  • The average length of a temporary agency worker assignment was 17 weeks, while only 1% of assignments lasted 52 weeks or more.
  • 47% of agencies in permanent recruitment made margins of 15 to 19%, with an additional 12% securing fees of 20 to 24%.
  • 31% of agencies made margins of 15 to 19 per cent on temporary placements, with a further 12% securing 20 to 24% and 15% achieving 25% or more.
  • Agencies active in the permanent market averaged 12.3 permanent placements per employee annually.
  • Agencies operating in the temporary market averaged £380,792 in annual temporary/contract sales per employee in 2016/17.

This year’s edition of the REC’s Recruitment industry trends report also includes a forecast for above GDP growth for the industry over the next three years: 3.8% in 2017/18, 3.6% in 2018/19 and 2.7% in 2019/20.

REC chief executive, Kevin Green, said, “We know that jobs transform lives and that recruiters work incredibly hard every day to help people find the position or assignment that’s right for them. Our data show that as candidate availability declines more and more businesses are turning to agencies to help them source the talent they need.

“Our industry has weathered difficult times before – it survived the serious hit of the financial crisis a decade ago to become stronger than ever. Whatever the next few years holds, I am confident that recruiters will use their drive and ingenuity to ensure they stay successful and make good matches between individuals looking for work and employers who need high quality staff.”

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