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Recrutiment & Employment Confederation

REC Annual Report and Accounts 2021

The REC is here to help you succeed every step of the way. Take a look at how we helped our industry and members in 2021. 

Chief Executive's welcome

Neil Carberry headshot 4

2021 was a big year of change for the REC. We restructured the business in the early part of the year to focus on better digital delivery, regional engagement, and enhanced member care. That agenda is about three things: speaking up for members, helping you grow, and setting high standards for our industry.

Taking each of these in turn, our campaigns work, led by Recruitment for Recovery, secured record media coverage and a hugely increased reach with governments across the UK. As well as positioning our industry as “part of the solution” on key economic challenges, this also aided us in securing key campaigning goals – like the extension of digital Right to Work checks.

The new business advice hub, along with a burgeoning podcast library and our must-attend annual conference, also contributed to our turnover bouncing back, and a surplus achieved – despite freezing member fees to support recruiters in the recovery. Taken together with new training courses, our market-leading legal support, and relevant offers from key business partners, we are building a service that supports continued growth for members, whatever part of the market they serve.

But it is not about growth at all costs. The REC stands for doing things the right way – because that is the standard our members rightly expect. In 2021 we had a hugely successful round of the Compliance Test that all corporate members must take, demonstrating again the commitment that being a member represents. Going forward, we are extending our work on standards to support good practice. We are not just about setting minimum standards.

Taken together, these three areas have helped to reposition the REC – in the public debate, and in the industry. And we see the fruits of that in the healthy financial statements delivered in this report, with turnover bouncing back, and a healthy surplus. As ever, that surplus will be re-invested for the good of our industry.

Thank you for your support of the REC in 2021. And thank you to the REC team for everything they have done to help our sector through the past two years. The future is bright.


REC Annual Report and Account 2021


The content of the REC Annual Report:

  • Company information 
  • Chair’s welcome 
  • Chief Executive’s welcome
  • The impact of our campaigns work
  • Our influence and reach
  • Meeting member needs – and bringing them together 
  • How we supported our members to succeed in 2021 
  • Improving professionalism and industry standards
  • The shape of our industry
  • Trading update 2022
  • Report and financial statements
  • Our governance committees

Chair's welcome from Sarah Thewlis

web p8 Sarah T

While 2021 was another year deeply affected by the global pandemic, the challenges for recruitment businesses and for the REC were quite different to those we faced in 2020.

Instead of the cessation of much of our activity, last year saw a world of opportunity as the economy opened and demand from companies for new or temporary staff reached record highs. Meeting this need, while still navigating the effects of a pandemic, developing labour shortages and strained cashflows tested all our mettle.

As a sector, we met the challenge. One impact of the pandemic is that recruitment firms in the UK are now viewed as a strategic partner for clients more than ever before, because of the work we have done over the past two years. The REC’s standout 2021 Recruitment for Recovery campaign made that clear – recruitment is worth just as much to the UK as the legal sector, or accountancy.

The REC has been at the side of recruiters throughout this tumultuous time. Not only keeping firms safe with the best legal advice and speaking up for the sector – but also expanding our support for members.

In 2021, we invested in getting closer to members with a new regional structure, hosting regular regional get-togethers all over the UK, even if the first ones had to be virtual. At the same time, we stretched our international wings through our work with the World Employment Confederation, making sure that our members get the best international advice, as well as local and sectoral work here in the UK.

In this era of candidate shortage, the importance of inclusion is an economic as well as a moral imperative. The REC’s work on diversity in the industry took a big step forward last year, with new work on diversity monitoring, plus advice and guidance – but there is more to come, with our new programme lead on equality, diversity, and inclusion now in place. Watch this space!