The UK recruitment industry has thrived in recent years, and continues to accelerate forward, despite the unsurety that Brexit initially brought about.

UK recruitment industry - growth

A Time of Growth

Growing by 9% annually, the UK recruitment industry increased its value in 2016 to £35.1bn in 2016, employing over 100,000. Of the 23,980 registered agencies in the country, 9,565 have a turnover of more than a quarter of a million every year.

This means it now 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 grew to an average at 12 weeks in 2016.

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.

UK recruitment industry - Brexit

Brexit and Contract Recruitment

When Theresa May stated “Brexit means Brexit”, the implications would be on the UK job market were not known. 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. This has been clearly visible 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.

UK recruitment industry - looking forward

Looking Forward

As we continue to move forward, hiring confidence has returned, creating a three-year high as businesses look to take advantage of the fruitful situation they’re in and secure oversea talent before the Brexit potentially puts barriers in place.

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