Recruitment industry worth more to UK economy than ever before

Filed under Press release

Wednesday, 14 December 2016


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


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


  • More than three quarters (76.1 per cent) 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 £250,000 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 consequences of the vote for ‘Brexit’.


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 per cent of contract workers and 61 per cent for temporary agency workers. This suggests that the majority of temporary workers benefit from equal treatment with permanent employees under the Agency Workers Directive.


REC Chief Executive Kevin Green says:


“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 find the right job and businesses to find the talent they need to succeed.


“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 per cent next year.


“We hope this analysis of the major trends and benchmarks for the recruitment industry is a useful tool for recruiters who want to track their performance against industry averages.


“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.”


Recruitment Industry Trends 2015/16 is available online at and is free to download for all REC members.




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