Thursday 18 February 2021 11:37 am

REC: Recruitment is £7.7bn key to economic bounce back

Recruitment is the key to economic recovery, the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) has said today, as recruitment firms boost productivity by £7.7b each year.

However, far more can be achieved as new research found that only half of people think that companies are doing a ‘good job’ at recruiting efficiently. A below standard hire could cost a business three times the salary paid, the REC found.

The sector body also found that one in four large businesses would consider hiring people who live further away from the office as remote working becomes essential.

Read more: Recruitment firm Hays to pay out £150m in special dividends

Chief executive of the REC, Neil Carberry, said: “With company and worker needs changing, and the country moving towards recovery from Covid-19, getting recruitment right will play a vital role in boosting the economy.”

Looking into the economic and social impact of recruitment, the REC has called on UK businesses to drop ‘wasteful approaches’ to the hiring process and view it as a critical aspect of business success.

“Many CEO’s have spoken of people as their biggest asset but left the process of bringing staff into the business as something to be done at low cost and high speed,” Carberry said,” Carberry said.

“By contrast, employers that treat recruitment as a priority issue because of the value it adds unlock competitive advantage.”

Read more: UK unemployment rate jumps to highest for five years


The pandemic has granted employers an opportunity to fish from a wider pool of talent now that office-based work increasingly seems to be a reality of the past.  

The report found that two in three businesses said that working with a recruitment agency had helped them increase the diversity of new hires.

But only 30 per cent of companies said that increasing workforce diversity was a focus, with nearly half of people saying the recruitment process was not inclusive them.

Read more: London’s small-cap firms fall behind FTSE 100 on diversity targets

“Bringing in the best talent boosts productivity, especially where organisations work with recruitment experts. Companies wouldn’t go to court without the best lawyers – they shouldn’t hire without the best recruitment and staffing service,” Carberry added.

Recruitment firms rake in more than accounting or legal industries, supporting £86b in gross value to the economy, over four percent of GDP.  

Over 300,000 people annually are employed through the recruitment industry, twice as many as those who go the Job Centre process.

“We’re calling on government to work with the REC on the plan for jobs, ensuring that all forms of employment are considered in government thinking, so families all over the country can feel the benefit that good recruitment brings,” Carberry said.

Read more: High street redundancies: Which retailers have cut jobs in the pandemic so far?