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46% increase in number of UK recruitment agencies


A record number of UK recruitment agency company registrations took place in 2018, taking the total number of agencies to an all time high.

Latest data from Companies House reveals that 8,488 agencies registered in 2018 a 46% increase on 2017.

  • 46% year-on-year increase in company registrations (8,448 in 2018, 5,824 in 2017)
  • 39,329 recruitment agencies registered since 1990
  • 84% of all recruitment agency company registrations in the UK took place in the last decade (2008-18)
  • 115,000 people employed in the recruitment industry

Easier and faster access to finance, rapid smartphone adoption, social media and SaaS growth all contributed to make the barriers of entry lower and the market more accessible for recruitment entrepreneurs.

According to REC’s annual Recruitment Industry Trends, the recruitment industry grew its valuation by 11% to £35.7 billion in 2018. As UK wages accelerated to their fastest pace since 2008 (up by 3.3% for the three months to October 2018), both perm and contract enjoyed increased placement value, with contract growing 20% and perm 6%.

Richard Prime, the co-CEO of Sonovate, commented: “sustained growth of the recruitment industry is excellent. What is notable is the pace of startups over the past three years, at a time when UK growth outlook has mixed forecast projections. REC’s figures prove that many UK employers choose to work with recruiters to add value to their business”

“The outlook for the recruitment market is exciting. The growth of a new working world has created a more fractured and interesting job market. In part, driven by millennials and digitalisation, a shift in attitude to how people want to work has evolved business culture.

The notion ‘a job for life’ is no longer primary driver. Working from anywhere, doing anything, and choosing the kind of work-life balance you want is now the priority. Over 160m people are engaged in some form of freelance work across Europe and 15% of the UK working population is self-employed.”

“With employment at an all time-high and rapidly changing markets, recruitment is a key part of the UK services economy and the role of the recruiter has never been as pivotal.”

For more information about Sonovate, visit or call 020 7112 4959.



If you would like images or more information about Sonovate please email or call 020 7112 4949.

About Sonovate

  • Founded in 2012 by Damon Chapple and Richard Prime
  • Recognised as the fastest growing fintech in Britain*
  • Funded over £680m
  • Over 1,500 businesses work with Sonovate every day
  • Received £20m in VC investment

*100 Fastest Growing Companies in Britain annual report 2018. Beauhurst and crowdfunding platform SyndicateRoom, which profiled the 100 fastest-growing companies based on how their valuations have grown over the past three years. Beauhurst based its ranking on the valuation of companies that raised at least one round of equity funding before June 30, 2015 and at least one round of equity funding after July 1, 2015. If a company’s valuation could not be confidently calculated it was excluded.

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