The recruitment industry is well placed to help with ongoing shortages of skills and talented flexible workers as more than 1,000 new agencies were set up between January and June this year, a new report by finance provider Sonovate shows.

The 1,034 recruitment agencies established during the first six months of 2015 represent a substantial 42.8% rise on the number that began operating during the same period in 2014, when just 724 new agencies entered the market.

Separate statistics published by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) show the recruitment industry in the UK is now worth more than £28bn, which suggests that it remains in great health despite the short supply of skill sets in many sectors.

Agencies that specialise in the placement of the flexible workforce and contractors account for 91% of this figure, which equates to around £26bn. It appears that many new recruitment agencies are being established to take advantage of the growing demand for self-employed workers.

Sonovate co-founder and chief executive officer Richard Prime said: “The recruitment industry is in robust health and I’m excited to see so many new agencies launching all the time.”

He added: “We’re facing an increasing number of skills shortages across various sectors, including science, engineering and manufacturing technologies, and recruiters must be on hand to overcome these challenges.”

Mr Prime added, however, that it is “important that small and startup agencies are able to access the level of finance required to fund contractors from day one” to improve their chances of long-term growth.

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