The latest annual Recruitment Industry Trends Survey from the REC reveals that between May 2013 and April 2013, the temporary/contracting market achieved its best results since records began.

The survey shows that the recruitment industry saw turnover increase by 3.1% year-on-year, hitting a total of £26.5 billion – not too far shy of the £27 billion registered before the recession struck. The placement of Umbrella Company Employees and other temporary/contracting staff accounted for a massive 91% of the industry’s total revenue (£24.1 billion), a year-on-year increase of 3.2%. Significantly, this is 5.9% higher than the level achieved in 2007 before the global economic meltdown struck.

Although turnover from the placement of permanent staff also increased – up 2.2% on 2010-2011 to reach 9% of the total, or £2.4 billion – the figure is 42% below the level achieved before the recession.

The data also shows that the sources of demand for temporary/agency staff have shifted significantly. Prior to the recession, the chief drivers of need were education/teaching, nursing/medical/care and construction; in 2012/2013, nearly half the demand came from technical/engineering, secretarial/clerical and industrial/blue collar.

Commenting on the survey, REC chief executive Kevin Green said: “The year to April 2013 saw growth for both temporary and permanent recruitment, with the temporary/contract market achieving its highest annual turnover since records began. Recruiters are resilient and in difficult times have been working harder to deliver more for less to cost-conscious clients. We’ve seen the market mature, with consolidation by large- and medium-sized businesses acquiring smaller operators, and the remaining small agencies have had to carve out specialist niches in order to survive.”

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