12 Recruitment Agency Statistics You Need to Know

25 Jan 2024

Recruitment Industry

The recruitment industry is ever-competitive and evolving rapidly. If you’re considering starting your own agency it’s a good idea to understand how the market is looking, and the opportunity available to you.

We’ve put together the most important statistics about the size of the recruitment industry and the challenges faced by recruiters today, to put you in good stead.


1) The UK recruitment market reached £141.2 billion at the end of 2022.


This growth represents a cumulative £20.1 billion increase on 2019’s value. This demonstrates the huge role recruitment firms have played in driving post-pandemic recovery for the UK economy. The growth of the recruitment market has been meeting an influx of client and candidate needs. It shows how the market is expanding and the opportunities that are to be had within the industry.


2) Recruiters filled 25 million temp and contract roles in 2022.


This was found in the Recruitment & Employment Confederation’s latest report, an annual survey drawing on data for the financial year. Temporary and contract placements were up on the 2021 figures, with a huge 25.7 million placements made in 2022. This is compared to 22.4 million in 2021, and emphasises the importance and growing proficiency of the industry.


3) There are now over 30,000 recruitment agencies in the UK.


The RISR counted 30,035 recruitment agencies in the UK in 2022. The findings showed a 6.5% increase on the previous year, and a total of 201,154 people working in UK recruitment agencies. 79.5% of these agencies are micro-businesses with fewer than 10 employees.


4) Only 16% of all recruitment agencies were in existence before 2008.


According to data from Companies House, the number of recruitment agencies operating in the UK has grown on average 27% per year, since 2008. This was triggered by the fallout of 2008’s global financial crisis and the resultant rise of unemployment. The industry is going from strength-to-strength, despite periods of economic instability. It’s a market with real momentum, which is forecast to only continue expanding.


5)  Almost a third of the UK’s recruitment agencies are located in London.


The capital unsurprisingly has more recruiters than anywhere else in the country, with 31% located in the region. Manchester takes second place, with 2,749 recruitment companies, according to BoldData. Hertfordshire also has a large number of recruitment agencies, making up 3% of the country’s total.


6) The number of weekly job postings in 2023 have more than doubled.


Data from CIPD shows that in the first week of 2022, weekly job postings were at approximately 1,150,000. By the middle of 2023, this figure had more than doubled, sitting close to 2,350,000. Vacancies are higher than ever as the labour market continues to rise.


7) Unemployment rate is expected to rise from 4.23% to 5% by the end of 2024.


The latest data from ONS places the unemployment rate at 4.3% in May of 2023. This is projected to rise further in the next year, with forecasts placing it between 4.5 and 6%  by the end of 2024. Before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK had relatively low levels of unemployment, comparable with the mid-1970s.


8) The average weekly earnings have increased by 7.3% in 2023.


Incomes Data Research found that total pay, which includes bonuses, rose by 7.2% in the year to October. This is down from 8.0% in the year to September. Included in this data is a figure of 8.6% for public sector salary growth. Manufacturing also had a particularly high rate of growth, 7.7% in the year to September. This rate of salary growth has now run ahead of the inflation rate for several months.


9) 56% of recruitment agencies cite talent as their top challenge in 2023.


Tight talent pools have been the top challenge for recruitment agencies for six of the last seven years with the pandemic being the only exception. At 56%, this figure sits 10% higher than last year, in which tight talent pools were voted as the largest problem for 46% of agencies. 

In response to this issue, recruitment professionals reported that they plug the gap by ‘engaging with passive candidates’ and ‘asking candidates for their preferred communication method’.


10) Winning new business is the top priority for UK recruitment agencies in 2023.


Recruitment professionals cite new business as their number one priority, with 39% of BullHorn’s study respondents expressing an increased commitment. Also taking top priority spots was ‘talent acquisition’ and ‘digital transformation’.


11) New positions take an average of 42 days to fill in 2023.


The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports an average time to fill of 42 days to fill positions. However, this is dependent on the industry. For example, hiring for a position in the engineering industry can take as long as 62 days. As a recruitment business, you’ll know that it’s worth the wait when you place the perfect candidate.


12) 11% of recruitment agencies are using AI and recruitment automation.


Vervoe have found that only 11% of recruiting businesses are making use of AI screening tools and online assessments. Is this more or less than what you expected? Like many other industries, AI is increasingly helping to streamline recruitment processes, with softwares now scanning resumes and even leading interviews.


With these recruitment industry statistics under your belt, you’re well on your way to a comprehensive understanding of the market today. Here at New Millennia, we specialise in supporting recruitment start-ups and more established agencies with back office support and 100% recruitment funding

To find out how we can help you, give us a call on 0161 337 9882 or email enq@nmgroup.co.uk.

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