Number of recruitment firms up, turnover nearly £39bn

Recruiters hit £38.9bn in turnover, making more than a million permanent placements in the year to March 2019, according to new data published by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation.

The report, released this morning, reveals £33.4bn was generated through temporary/contract placement activity, while £5.5bn was achieved through permanent placements over the period.

The report also shows the number of recruitment businesses and the number of people working in recruitment grew, with 31,140 firms in the industry as of March 2019, up 2% from the previous year, while the total number of staff rose by 3% to 119,000 people.

Meanwhile up to 82% of UK employers who use recruitment agencies said they were satisfied with the service they got, with 83% of hirers satisfied with the candidates coming through the agencies they work with.

Commenting on the findings, REC CEO Neil Carberry said: “With skills shortages and economic uncertainty dominating the agenda in 2019, many firms reported that client confidence was an issue – so making progress was that little bit harder. With that in mind, it’s testament to the great work recruiters put in that industry turnover reached £38.9bn. The industry’s progress is good news for the whole economy because good recruitment underpins growth and productivity for clients and opportunity for candidates.

“As we go into 2020, things aren’t getting any easier. There are big legislative changes on the horizon, as well as the next stage of Brexit. What will IR35, the Good Work Plan, an ageing workforce, automation or decarbonisation mean for the labour market and recruitment? The REC will be by the sector’s side as it faces up to and navigates these changing times.”

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