Turnover in the recruitment industry has hit the highest levels on record, a Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) report has revealed.
The annual industry report, launched today, showed that between April 2005 and March 2006 the overall turnover from both permanent and temporary recruitment rocketed to an all-time high of £24.8bn.
The previous year a turnover of £24.2bn was achieved, according to the REC’s Annual Industry Turnover and Key Volumes Survey 2005-06, published in association with Ernst & Young.
The 5.8% growth in turnover represents the highest rate surge since 2000-01.
Temporary and contract recruitment still continued to grow at a significant rate, rising by 6.4% to £21.6bn in the period ending March 2006.
Most permanent placements were in secretarial and clerical, accounting for 30% of the market – twice as many as those placed in computing and IT, which totalled 15%.
Again, secretarial and clerical placements – a total of 24% – topped the temporary league with industrial and blue collar placements coming in second at 18%.
The UK’s temporary and contract workforce also showed a 3.8% increase with the number of workers on a firm’s payroll rising from 1.21 million to 1.26 million.
Marcia Roberts, the REC’s chief executive, said most of the growth could be attributed to temporary business bouncing back from last year’s lull.
Roberts said the growth in permanent recruitment reflected the demonstrable value offered to clients and work seekers.
She said: “It is sometimes easy to forget how fast and how far the recruitment industry has come in a short space of time.
“Less than 10 years ago, we were reporting a total turnover of just £10.5bn.”
Gordon Cullen, director of Ernst & Young, said: “Recruiters are becoming increasingly indispensable in the search for suitable talent as the UK is seeing significant skills shortages in certain sectors.
“There are now serious shortages in construction and engineering as the country is embarking on a number of major construction projects.
“The government is looking to improve the infrastructure surrounding our railways and the Olympic project in Stratford is becoming Europe’s largest construction project.
“Consequently, construction companies are becoming increasingly reliant on recruitment agencies to find staff to fill vacancies.”