Recruitment industry turnover soared by 10% to reach £31.5bn in revenue during the 12 months to March 2015, the eighth Recruitment Industry Trends Survey from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) reveals.

The new study notes that the rise during the last fiscal year, which is the best ever reported, was driven by an increased volume of flexible working and contracting placements and improved margins in the permanent market.

There were 1.2 million self-employed professionals on temporary, interim or contract assignments sourced via a recruiter during the last 12 months, up 3.6% from the figure recorded in the seventh annual survey for 2013/14.

Recruitment agencies are benefitting from the demand for flexible workers, with 17% of firms securing margins below 10% and one in five agencies securing margins greater than 20%.

REC chief executive Kevin Green said the report reveals it is “a very exciting time for recruitment”. There are now over 103,000 people working in the recruitment industry − a 7% year-on-year rise − while every consultant working in contractor recruitment has had 32 workers on assignment each day.

Mr Green added: “Overall turnover has increased, employers are making more use of agency workers, contractors and interims and recruiters filling permanent vacancies are commanding better margins in a tightening jobs market”.

He continued: “Every day recruiters change people’s lives and make businesses more prosperous. Our industry is the engine that drives the UK labour market, enabling people to find work and businesses to find the talent they need to succeed.”

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