The engine that drives the UK job market has turned up a gear as it accelerates into 2017 with renewed hiring intentions.

Growing by 9% annually, the UK recruitment industry is now worth £35.1bn, employs over 100,000 and registered 23,980 agencies, of which almost 10,000 now turnover more than a quarter of a million.

It’s official, the industry contributes more to the UK economy than advertising, arts and recreation, and the food and beverage industries – not to mention the value it adds in saving productivity in timely placements across all industries.

More than three-quarters of the value added to the economy derives from temporary and contract activities, which have grown in duration this year to average at 12 weeks.

Further findings from the Recruitment Industry Trends 2015/16 report, released by REC, show that accounting & financial and industrial blue collar work were among the strongest sectors for contract recruitment.

Among the top concerns cited by contract agencies was the impact of the Brexit on their activities.

Considering the rise of the contractor during the last financial crisis and the movement of half a million into self-employment, we may be able to put these fears to bed.

The contract market weathers economic uncertainty and political headwinds far better than its permanent counterpart, which can be seen in the successive month-on-month growth of placements leading up to, during, and following the referendum to reach a five-month high in October.

As we move into 2017, hiring confidence has returned with aplomb, cresting a three-year high as businesses look to make hay while the sun is shining and secure oversea talent before the Brexit potentially puts barriers in place.

Kevin Green, CEO of REC, suggests that the tightening pool of skilled candidates will position recruitment agencies as even more of a lifeline to businesses in 2017, and predicts the industry will grow by between 2.9% and 6.9% next year.