The latest annual Recruitment Industry Trends report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) reveals that the UK’s recruitment industry contributes a mammoth £35.1 billion to the economy every year – higher than ever before – with the lion’s share of that value deriving from temporary employment activities.

The latter, of course, includes the sourcing and placement of skilled Umbrella Company Employees and other contracting professionals and accounts for a stunning 76.1 per cent of the value added to the UK economy by recruiters.

In addition, the report includes the following key findings:

  • The number of recruitment consultancies in the UK with an annual turnover in excess of £250,000 is currently 9,565.
  • The top three sectors for the placement of temporary/contracting staff in 2015/16 emerged as industrial/blue collar, accounting/financial and secretarial/clerical.
  • The equivalent sectors for permanent placements were professional/managerial, technical/engineering and secretarial/clerical.
  • Recruiters focusing on permanent recruitment cited a lack of requisite skills amongst candidates as their primary concern, while those focusing on temporary recruitment cited the longer-term aftermath of the June “Brexit” vote.

The report also reveals that the vast majority of temp and contracting assignments lasted more than 12 weeks in 2015/16. This was the case for 73 per cent of the contracting professionals placed and 61 per cent of temporary agency workers. A reasonable conclusion to be drawn from this is that the majority of temporary workers now enjoy equal treatment with their permanent counterparts, as prescribed by the Agency Workers Directives.

Commenting on the report, REC CEO Kevin Green noted that the UK’s recruitment industry is bigger than ever before, contributing more to the country’s economy than a range of other major industries, including advertising, food and beverage and arts and recreation.

He said: “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.”

He went on to pledge that the REC, as the professional body for recruitment, will strive to make businesses in the sector even more successful by helping them source and place the people whom they need. He added “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.”

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