All signs point to UK recruitment growth – but can the industry keep up?

According to the latest research statistics for 2014, recruitment growth in the UK has reached a 25-year high.

The research by contract finance provider Sonovate found that over the last 12 months, more than 4,000 new recruitment agencies have launched in the UK. This is 7% more than the previous year and more in one year than in at any other point since 1990.

Whilst numbers are no guarantee of quality, and many of these recruiters will not have the skills or expertise to find the best people for specialist industries such as IT, finance and communications, this is nonetheless an encouraging statistic for both recruiters and job-hunters. It is a positive and definite sign of growth in the job market.

Industry value and revenue surpasses pre-recession peak

Another study, carried out by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), also reveals that in the year 2013/14, the UK recruitment industry was worth £28.7 billion. This surpasses the previous pre-recession peak of £27 billion, which was achieved in 2007/08. What’s more, total turnover for the industry increased by 8.2% compared to the previous year.

The growth in this instance also appears to have been driven by increased activity amongst employers and job-hunters, along with a drop in the amount of work conducted for lower margins.

However, the rapid growth in the UK recruitment market does not come without its difficulties. Kevin Green, the CEO of the REC, believes that recruiters will need to work hard to overcome some new challenges:

“As the jobs market recovers, there are still challenges. Some bigger businesses are creating their own in-house recruitment teams, clients are demanding more in a market where skilled candidates are harder and harder to find, while new online tools lead some employers to assume that sourcing and sifting candidates is easy.

“Last year this survey showed that volumes had grown substantially but revenue growth had not kept pace. We predicted recruiters would gain from efficiencies they had made within their own businesses once the economy started to pick up, and this year’s data shows that those benefits are now being realised. 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.”

What does this mean for the UK job market?

These encouraging new statistics not only suggest that recruitment agencies are doing well in a post-recession economic climate, but also employers, graduates and people looking for work. The growth is all driven by increased activity, which means that more employers are hiring and more jobs are available for those looking for work. This all points to companies having the resources (and making enough in sales and revenue) to be able to expand and develop their businesses, not to mention having the confidence in the UK economy to consider doing so.

Need the highest quality candidates? SOLOS can help

Not all recruiters, especially one of the many that have just opened up in the last year, have the experience or expertise to source the best quality candidates. However, SOLOS Consultants, a member of the REC, has been building up an excellent reputation as specialist recruiters for more than 10 years.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles @


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