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UK Recruitment Industry's £38.9 Billion Revenue During Challenging Year

Posted-on January 2020 By Amy Bates

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Despite a challenging year, the UK's recruitment industry turnover reached £38.9 billion in the year to March 2019. £33.4 billion was generated through temporary/contract placements, whilst £5.5 billion was generated through permanent placements, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation's (REC) annual Recruitment Industry Trends report.

The report showed that recruiters made more than a million permanent placements in the year to March 2019 and over 1.1 million people in temporary and contract roles every day.

During this time, the number of recruitment businesses and people working in recruitment also grew. In March 2019 there were 31,140 firms in the industry, up 2% from the previous year. The total number of staff rose by 3% to 119,000 people.

Meanwhile, up to 82% of UK hiring managers, who use recruitment agencies were happy with the service they got, and up to 83% of employers, were satisfied with the candidates coming through the agencies they work with.

Other figures from the 2018/19 report include:

  • The average gross profit level recorded by the industry was 17.2%. The average operating profit was recorded at 3.8%.

  • The average value of each permanent placement from the wider recruitment industry was £5,152. The average margin on permanent placements achieved by the industry was 14.7%.

  • The average annualised turnover of each temporary/contract worker on assignment was £30,219. The average margin on temporary/contract recruitment was 17.3%.

  • The report also includes the REC’s revenue forecast for the next three years, which remains positive despite the unknowns in the political landscape. The REC predicts that the UK’s recruitment industry will grow by 4.6% in 2019/20, 3.0% in 2020/21, and 5.9% in 2021/22.

​Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, said, “With skills shortages and economic uncertainty dominating the agenda in 2019, many firms reported that client confidence was an issue, so making progress was that little bit harder. With that in mind, it’s testament to the great work recruiters put in that industry turnover reached £38.9 billion. The industry’s progress is good news for the whole economy because good recruitment underpins growth and productivity for clients and opportunity for candidates.”