Wednesday 14 December 2016 5:00 am

Recruitment outshines other sectors such as food and advertising in terms of economic contribution

The UK’s recruitment industry is worth £35.1bn a year, a new report shows.

The value of recruitment to the economy is at its highest ever level, up 9 per cent on last year, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s annual report. 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.

Temporary employment accounted for 76.1 per cent of the sector’s added value to the economy.

Blue collar, financial, and clerical jobs made up the top three areas in which temporary workers are placed, and the majority of fixed-term assignments were for at least 12 weeks. For 73 per cent of contract workers and 61 per cent of temporary agency workers, the average length of a job was for more than 12 weeks.

One in ten recruiters thought that the length of assignment for temporary and contract workers was longer this year than it was last year.

Although temporary employment activities make up a larger part of the sector, the fastest growth is in recruitment for permanent positions, which has seen year-on-year growth of 21.4 per cent compared to 5.6 per cent in temporary recruitment.

Of the 1,700 new agencies in the UK this year, 89 per cent work mainly or exclusively in the permanent department.

When companies made permanent placements, they were most often in managerial, technical, or clerical roles.

While the industry is clearly flourishing in the UK, temporary recruiters listed the consequences of Brexit as their top concern.

Kevin Green, chief executive of the REC, was nevertheless optimistic, predicting further growth of between 2.9 and 6.9 per cent next year.

He said: “Our industry is the engine that drives the UK jobs market, enabling people to find the right job and businesses to find the talent they need to succeed.”

“With near-full employment in the UK and candidate availability tightening, recruiters will play an even more important role in 2017.”