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Recruitment industry turnover up over 8% on previous year

The value of the UK’s recruitment industry has surpassed its pre-recession peak, recording total revenue of £28.7 billion by the end of the financial year 2013/14, according to new research published today by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

Total industry turnover increased by 8.2 per cent on the previous year’s total, £26.5 billion (2012/13), and exceeded the previous record high of £27 billion achieved in 2007/08. Growth in revenue was driven by an increased volume of activity and by a fall in the proportion of work conducted in return for low margins.

Illustrating the integral role recruiters play in driving the record levels of employment witnessed in the UK labour market the data reveals that in 2013/14 recruiters helped more than 630,000 people find a new permanent job, and that on any given day 1.15 million people go out to work on a temporary or contract assignment secured via a recruitment agency.

Other headline findings from the REC’s Recruitment Industry Trends Survey 2013/14 include:

• Of the total industry revenue of £28.7 billion, £26.0 billion (91 per cent) was derived from temporary/contract business and £2.7 billion (9 per cent) from permanent business.
• Turnover for permanent business increased by 8.7 per cent year-on-year, but remains 37 per cent below its pre-recession peak of £4.3 billion in 2007/8.
• The 8.7 per cent increase in revenue from permanent recruitment was derived from a 2.8 per cent increase in volume.
• A shortage of candidates with appropriate levels of skills and experience is the top concern among agencies working in permanent recruitment, with a third of recruiters (34 per cent) saying they face the issue (up from 25 per cent in 2012/13 and 14 per cent in 2011/12).
• Turnover for temporary/contract business increased by 8.2 per cent year-on-year, exceeding £26 billion for the first time and reaching another record high.
• The volume of temporary/contract recruitment increased by 2.4 per cent, a fourth consecutive annual increase in activity.
• More than half (56.6 per cent) of all temporary and contract assignments are for 12 weeks or more.
• ‘Compliance and legislation (including Agency Workers Regulations)’ is the concern cited most frequently by agencies supplying temporary staff with four in ten (41 per cent) agencies listing it as a concern.

REC chief executive Kevin Green says:

“The recruitment industry is the driving force behind the UK’s labour market recovery. The positive impact that recruiters have on people’s working lives and the businesses in this country is the reason we have record employment, and unemployment falling at unprecedented speed.

Agencies have emerged from the recession as leaner and smarter operators. Today’s market is a challenging one, but it’s still one in which high-quality recruitment businesses can flourish."

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