Industry strong, but Brexit concerns remain

The value of the recruitment industry to the UK economy is £35.1bn per year, according to the ninth annual report on the recruitment industry’s performance from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).

Brexit: Shutterstock

The 2015-16 Recruitment Industry Trends report found more than three quarters of value added to the economy from recruitment derived from temporary employment activities.

It also found the top concern for temporary recruiters was the impact of last year’s Brexit referendum result.

REC chief executive Kevin Green says the report shows the UK industry is strong.

“The recruitment industry is bigger than ever before and contributes more to the UK economy than advertising, arts and recreation, and the food and beverage industry. Our industry is the engine that drives the UK jobs market, enabling people to fi nd the right job and businesses to find the talent they need to succeed,” he says.

“With near-full employment in the UK and candidate availability tightening, recruiters will play an even more important role in 2017. We predict that the industry will grow by between 2.9% and 6.9% next year.”

The report also found that the majority of temporary and contract assignments last longer than 12 weeks. The average length of assignment is more than 12 weeks for 73% of contract workers and 61% for temporary agency workers. This suggests that most temporary workers benefit from equal treatment with permanent employees under the Agency Workers Directive.

“As the professional body for recruitment we’re determined to make businesses more successful by helping them secure the people they need. And at the REC we remain absolutely passionate and totally committed to helping to build a labour market that works for recruiters, employers, and the people they hire,” says Green.

Key statistics from the REC’s Recruitment Industry Trends 2015/16 include:

  • More than three quarters (76.1%) of value added to the UK economy by the recruitment industry was derived from temporary employment activities.
  • There are 9,565 recruitment agencies with an annual turnover of more than £250k operating in the UK.
  • The top three sectors in which recruiters made permanent placements in 2015/16 are professional/ managerial, technical/ engineering, and secretarial/ clerical.
  • The top three sectors in which recruiters made temporary placements in 2015/16 are industrial/blue collar, accounting/financial, and secretarial/clerical.
  • The top concern of recruiters operating in permanent recruitment is a lack of relevant skills and experience amongst candidates.
  • The top concern of recruiters operating in temporary recruitment is the consequence of the vote for ‘Brexit’.

For more information, visit

Twitter Twitter
Business opportunities: Shutterstock

What I know: Peter Rabey

Peter Rabey is a director at X4 Group.

How has the year started?

28 March 2017
Draughtsmen: Shutterstock

What I know: Daniel Griggs

Daniel Griggs is the owner and founder of Delta Genesis Consulting Ltd.

28 March 2017
IR35: Shutterstock

IR35 - what has changed and what does it mean to recruiters?

These rules will apply to payments made on or after 6 April 2017 and therefore can apply to contr

28 March 2017
Criminal records: Shutterstock

Diversity, inclusion and criminal records

Diversity and inclusion is a major theme underpinning recruitment practice, and recruitment busin

28 March 2017