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UK – Recruitment industry revenue reaches 32.2 billion as industry help millions find work

13 December 2017

Recruiters in the UK 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, according to a report from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).

The report, Recruitment Industry Trends 2016/12017 was compiled with market research company ComRes and covers the 12 months ending in March 2017. It showed that £28.2 billion was generated from temporary placements while approximately £4.0 billion was generated through permanent placements. In this year’s report, the REC also included revenue generated by RPOs and MSPs.

“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,” REC chief executive Kevin Green said. “Our data show that as candidate availability declines more and more businesses are turning to agencies to help them source the talent they need.”

“The recruitment industry will have some challenges in 2018, particularly the uncertainty caused by lack of clarity on how the UK will leave the EU,” Green said. “The UK jobs market is tightening and we have labour, skill and talent shortages. This presents opportunities for recruiters in the short term and we believe the industry will continue to outpace overall economic growth for the next three years.

According to the report, the average length of a temporary agency worker assignment was 17 weeks, while 1% of assignments lasted 52 weeks or more. Moreover, 47% of agencies in permanent recruitment made margins of 15% to 19%, with an additional 12% securing fees of 20% to 24%

Meanwhile, 31% of agencies made margins of 15% to 19% on temporary placements, with a further 12% securing 20% to 24% and 15% achieving 25% or more.

REC’s report also showed that agencies active in the permanent market averaged 12.3 permanent placements per employee annually and agencies operating in the temporary market averaged £380,792 in annual temporary/contract sales per employee in 2016/17. 

The report also included 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.

“Our industry has weathered difficult times before – it survived the serious hit of the financial crisis a decade ago to become stronger than ever,” Green said. “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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