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UK recruitment industry grows 11% YoY, REC reveals

Recruiters and associated HR services placed over 1.1m people into permanent jobs in 2017/18, and were responsible for placing more than 1m 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% 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% in the year to March 2018, totalling 30,430, and the industry employed approximately 115,000 people.


Other figures from the 2017/18 report include:

  • Almost two thirds (64%) of temporary assignments were for 12+ weeks, while one in five (20%) were for 6+ months (compared to 61% and 20% respectively in 2016/17)
  • 85% of contract placements were for 12+ weeks, and 45% of contract workers were on assignment for 6+ months (compared to 80% and 44% respectively in 2016/17)
  • The average value of permanent placements from the wider recruitment industry was £4,238 (up by 6.4% on the average in 2016/17)
  • The average annualised turnover of each temporary/contract worker on assignment was £34,976 (up 20% 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% in 2019/20 and 5 per cent in 2020/21.


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.”


Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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