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Revenue and recruiter numbers up as industry has best year ever

Total recruitment industry turnover increased by 9.7 per cent in 2014/15 to reach £31.5 billion with growth delivered by improved margins in the permanent market and increased volumes of temporary, contract and interim placements. This is the headline finding from the eighth annual report on the recruitment industry’s performance from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

Other key statistics from the REC’s Recruitment Industry Trends Survey 2014/15 include:

• 634,000 people were placed into permanent roles via a recruiter in 2014/15, meaning that since the recession in 2008/09 recruitment agencies have helped 4 million people find a new permanent job.

• Just 1 per cent of agencies working on permanent placements are accepting margins below 10 per cent whereas more than a quarter (26 per cent) are securing margins of 20 per cent and over (up from 8 per cent last year).

• On any given day in 2014/15 1.2 million people were out on temporary, contract or interim assignments via a recruiter, up 3.6 per cent from 2013/14.

• The proportion of agencies supplying temporary/contract staff for margins below 10 per cent has increased by 7 percentage points to 17 per cent in 2014/15, while one in five agencies (21 per cent) are still securing margins of 20 per cent or more.

• More than 103,000 people now work in the recruitment industry, up 7 per cent since last year.

• Average annual sales per consultant working in permanent recruitment were £96,000.

• On any given day, every consultant working in temporary/contract recruitment had 32 workers out on assignment.

REC chief executive Kevin Green says:

“This is a very exciting time for recruitment. 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. This report provides invaluable benchmarking data for our members for assessing how their businesses are performing compared to overall industry averages and to agencies operating in their sector.

“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.

“At the REC, we have devoted a lot of time and energy over recent years to promoting

recruitment as a career of choice and to driving up standards through initiatives such as our own compliance test and introducing recruitment apprenticeships. So it’s particularly encouraging to see the number of people choosing recruitment as a career once again totals over one hundred thousand.

“Our programme for next year is going to be all about supporting members to scale up their businesses in a growing market by providing the training, expert advice and services they need to capitalise on the opportunities available.”

Recruitment Industry Trends Survey 2014/15 contains historical data going back to 2001/02. The latest information was drawn from the survey responses of 573 recruitment firms collected online and via phone. The report is available online at and is free to download for all REC members.

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