Skip to content

The UK recruitment industry is growing rapidly


Recruitment is continuing its reputation as a leading industry in the UK, having grown consistently in size since 2010. Over 31,000 UK-based recruitment businesses helped millions of people find work in 2016/17 and recorded an industry value of £32bn.

And the industry shows no signs of slowing down. In 2017 alone, Companies House recorded the launch of 5,824 new recruitment agencies, a 20% increase on the previous year.

The following statistics were also recorded, and further highlight just how successful the Recruitment industry has been to date:

  • There has been an average 21% YOY growth in the number of UK recruitment business
  • When you compare five year periods (e.g. 2013/17 vs. 2008/12), there is growth of 198%
  • Contract and temp work saw an increase in value of 6%, going from £26.7 billion in 2015/16 to £28.2 billion in 2016/17.

Advances in digitalisation and a more dynamic UK job market is making it easier and more accessible than ever to set up a business. 72% of the UK’s recruitment business were registered since 2010.

Self-employment played a key part in this growth, with 2017 showing record levels of people choosing this way of working. The ONS Labour Market Statistics showed that 15% of the working population were self-employed. In numbers, that’s an impressive 4.88 million people. The number of people who choose this way of working has increased by over 47%, highlighting how attractive self-employment is.

With more than two decades of recruitment experience, Richard Prime, the co-CEO of Sonovate, has seen the effects of this increasing surge. His company provides finance, technology and support to recruitment businesses, and was named by Syndicate Room as the fifth fastest growing private company last year. Of the successes of last year, Richard said:

“2017 was a great year for the Recruitment industry. With employment rates up there are more roles to be filled, and with this comes an increased need for agencies to source the people to fill them. There’s also been a significant increase in the amount of contract work being completed, with more than 1.3 million contractors and temporary workers active every day.”

So what does the future of recruitment look like in 2018 for the UK?

Despite an extremely volatile political and economic climate, the UK Recruitment industries saw a total revenue of £32.2 billion in 2017.

Recent research from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation reveals that 67% of UK staffing agencies are forecasting an increase in revenue of 60%, compared to 2017. The research also predicted that the number of contract recruitment businesses will grow to 17%.

If you are were considering launching your own recruitment business, now is the time to do it. With the predictions of another wave of new agencies launching this year, the competition will get stiffer. Luckily, to combat this, the amount of resources and support available to help you has also increased – and it’s the smart recruitment agencies who will take advantage of these.

As the UK’s leading provider of finance and technology to recruitment businesses, Sonovate is best placed to support and guide new and established businesses.

For more information about Sonovate, its product and the future of the UK recruitment industry, 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

  • Sonovate was founded in 2011 by Damon Chapple and Richard Prime
  • Over 1000 recruitment agencies work with Sonovate
  • Sonovate sees up to 60 new sign-ups each month
  • Sonovate has grown 300% YOY over the last three years
  • In the last 18 months, Sonovate has received £20m in VC investment
  • Sonovate runs thousands of contracts every day and funds £3-5m each week
  • Sonovate was named by Syndicate Room as the fifth fastest growing company in 2017
  • Sonovate has won several awards since its launch, including Recruitment Technology Innovation of the Year Award at the Recruiter Awards for Excellence
< Back to press

This website uses cookies. For more information about these please click here.
By continuing to browse you consent to the use of cookies